Article Courtesy of Florida Today
By Rick Neale
Published November 8, 2019
SATELLITE BEACH - A "Save
the Turtles" rally will take place Wednesday
outside Satellite Beach City Hall to oppose
development of a hotel and condominium
buildings up to 85 feet high across State
Road A1A from Hightower Beach Park, reports
News 6 partner Florida Today.
The rally starts at 6
p.m., and the Satellite Beach City Council
will meet at 7 p.m. City Hall is located at
565 Cassia Blvd.
During the meeting,
council members will vote on a resolution that would amend
the city's Pelican Coast Planned Unit Development, opening
the door for construction of The Vue at Satellite Beach.
The project would encompass 27 acres across the former
Satellite Shores subdivision, at the northwest corner of SR
A1A and Shearwater Parkway.
A Tennessee developer wants to build a 222-room hotel and
three condominium buildings up to 85 feet high, a gated
community of 72 single-family homes, and an elevated
pedestrian skyway across SR A1A from the hotel lobby to
Hightower Beach Park.
The Vue at Satellite Beach would go across the highway from
Satellite Beach's oceanfront wildlife and habitat
preservation tract, extending north and south of Hightower
City Manager Courtney Barker said online announcements of
Wednesday's rally were prompting calls to City Hall —
because confused residents thought the city was building an
oceanfront hotel at Hightower Beach Park.
The Hightower Beach Park oceanfront nature preserve
extends along State Road A1A in Satellite Beach.
Barker said Wednesday's City Council meeting will be the first meeting
livestreamed on the city website at www.satellitebeachfl.org.
In November 1999, city officials secured $3.8 million in Florida Communities
Trust state funding to buy 15 of the tract's 18 acres. The land transfer
halted a proposal to build 96 oceanfront timeshare condominiums.
City leaders have touted this tract as the Space Coast's largest contiguous
undeveloped oceanfront between the Cape and the Archie Carr National
Wildlife Refuge south of Melbourne Beach.
"It is (the) residents' feeling that the design of this property would be
inconsistent with the preserve on the other side of the highway and concern
that lighting from the condos/hotel would affect the nesting of the
turtles," South Patrick Shores resident Sandra Sullivan, rally co-organizer,
wrote in an Oct. 23 email to various state officials.
"in addition, the high number of visitors to the beach would be detrimental
to the turtles and their preservation," Sullivan wrote.
In various Facebook groups and posts, Sullivan has posted downloadable
copies of the city's 1999 grant award agreement with Florida Communities
Page 9 of the agreement states: "Adjacent development activities shall be
monitored through the development review and approval process to ensure that
such activities do not negatively effect the resources on the Project Site.
Vegetated buffers and height limitations shall be implemented as necessary
to ensure that resources and planned outdoor recreation activities on the
project site are sufficiently protected from the adverse impacts of adjacent
Rita Ventry, a Florida Communities Trust planner, emailed Satellite Beach
Recreation Director Cassie Warthen on Monday morning. Ventry wrote that her
agency funded the acquisition of the site, in part, to protect sea turtles
and their habitat.
"Please work with FWC and the concerned citizens to work through this issue.
You can contact FWC to make sure the protection of the Sea Turtles are being
met if this development continues in the future. Hopefully, the city can
come to a resolution which will protect the Sea Turtles and work with any
concerned citizens group," Ventry wrote to Warthen.
Barker emailed Ventry a reply on Monday afternoon:
"This development is on private property across the street from SR A1A, not
on the preservation site. The private property is a redevelopment site, with
former base housing units already been demolished," Barker wrote.
"All laws and regulations regarding sea turtle nesting will continue to be
strictly enforced, as the City has done in the past. The preservation area
is not being impacted," she wrote.
The developer, Woodshire-Brevard, LLC of Memphis, Tennessee, hopes to start
site work in September, agenda materials show. The target timeline shows
construction starting on the hotel, single-family homes and first
condominium building in January 2021.
Regarding the 1999 grant agreement, Barker said the term "adjacent" refers
to lands north and south of the preservation area, not across the highway.
Dave Cheney is spokesman for the Indialantic-based Sea Turtle Preservation
Society. He said the final numbers are not in, but it appears this was a
record nesting season across Florida.
"We'd like to see no development on the beaches — but that, we know, is not
going to happen. What we want is to make sure the existing laws are
enforced," Cheney said.
"All the cities and the county government in Brevard have lighting
ordinances. They have restrictions on what you can and can't do on the
beach, especially during nesting season," he said.
"To stop a development, that is outside of the types of actions that we feel
are effective. We're more concerned with making sure that the existing laws,
regulations and so forth are in place," he said.
Now razed, Satellite Shores was a Patrick Air Force Base housing annex
containing 105 homes.