Cocoa Beach condo owners fighting waterfront marina

Article Courtesy of TV Channel 13 News

By Greg Pallone

Published March 23, 2015


COCOA BEACH -- A large group of Cocoa Beach condo owners is concerned about plans to bring rental watercraft into a nearby marina.
Dozens are expected at a meeting Wednesday. They don't want the city to approve plans they say could put manatees in danger and create issues outside their waterfront


"The manatees will leave, and where are they going to go?" said condo owner Bonnie Prizgint.

This area is near the Cocoa Beach Causeway locals call "manatee cove."

At any given time daily, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of sea cows congregate in the water near the condos, where they find fresh water and mate.

Prizgint lives in a condo overlooking the water, and is the president of one of four condo associations balking at the proposal of the Island Time Marina bringing in
rentals like pontoon boats, kayaks and standup paddle boards.

Residents at a Cocoa Beach condo building are fighting plans to allow for watercraft rentals in a nearby marina.


They said some 800 fellow residents are on their side opposing the expansion.

"I just don't think the people who are going to rent the boats are going to have a course on how to operate that boat," she said.

"I don't condemn somebody trying to make some extra money or having a business, but this is not the right spot. You've got hundreds of people saying no, and one guy
saying yes," said Ron Knuppel, another condo owner.

James Stadler bought the commercial marina about a year ago and has been fixing it up.

He's renovating the entire property that has been worn down over the past several years.

"We are re-doing the docks, making it nice," said Stadler.

There are 30 boat slips total, and his plan is to use three of them for two motorized pontoon boats, and also paddle boards and kayaks. He wants to rent to families and
enforce a strict 'no wake' zone.

He's requested a special exception to the city code to bring them in and rent on an hourly or daily basis.

And if the expansion comes through he will make sure renters know how to operate them safely for themselves and wildlife.

"I want to make sure people know what they're doing when they go out on the boat, but you know, they're going to be small boats, small horsepower motors, it's not like
they can take off fast," Stadler said.

As part of his request, Stadler said there will be no personal watercraft rentals, which can go at high speeds. And they intend to be good stewards of the environment.

The Board of Adjustment meeting takes place Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at Cocoa Beach City Hall where they will either approve or reject the request.