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NOTES FROM 30A SURF SHACK (ALVIN'S ISLAND) COMMUNITY MEETING - Th April 18, 2024

The meeting was well attended with over 50 residents. The attendees were passionate in opposition to the development with no one in attendance voicing support for it.

 

The owner of the property was not in attendance but had two representatives there on his behalf as well as the project’s local architect and engineer. The reps informed the audience that County officials including the BOCC had been invited but none were in attendance. Two candidates for BOCC were there and spoke out against the plan (Barbara Morano and Dan Curry).

 

The plans were presented and discussed.

 

Of significant note, the building in question was already approved when The Pointe hotel/condo development was approved in 2013.

 

In general, the proposed building’s architectural design was not called into question.

 

Chief concerns of those in attendance:

 

Traffic and Safety. The developer’s reps acknowledged that the traffic study that being used was done in 2013. Local citizens were quick to point out the massive increase in pedestrian, bike and vehicle traffic at that intersection since 2013, expressed safety and traffic concerns and requested a new traffic study including an Intersection Analysis by FDOT.

 

The reps agreed to order a new study but indicated that they already know that their project would fail any traffic study which would then require them to pay an Impact fee of approximately $67,000 to the County, which was already paid years ago.

 

The reps said they believed there would be the same or less traffic than if the space were a restaurant which was the original plan but those in attendance disagreed.

 

Ingress & Egress was a major concern for those in attendance. The reps indicated they are not changing the existing ones but citizens indicated those are awkward and dangerous.

 

Size/Scale/Fit. It appeared to be universally agreed by attendees that the size of the business (over 10k sq ft) was significantly out of scale with any other retail business in the area. 

 

When asked if the developer would dramatically reduce the size of the building to be more in line with the area, they said it would make it challenging to make a profit. When asked if they would consider selling the lot due to the multiple complications, they said no.

 

Residents adamantly expressed concern over the corporation’s “fit” in Inlet Beach and on 30A. Even if the size of the business were appropriate for the community, attendees indicated they would still not be in favor of this corporation putting a store at this location. Attendees referenced their disapproval of the company’s development in Gulf Place.

The reps clarified numerous times that this development is not an Alvin’s Island but a much higher-end “30A Surf Shack”. The plan would abide by the color schematic and design guidelines established for that lot and carry “higher end” merchandise.

 

They referenced a few businesses that they own in other areas that are not Alvin’s Islands, one being “I Love Sunglasses” in Sarasota. Residents google’d that business and could not find it online nor in Sunbiz.org.

 

Parking was discussed at length. The reps said they were more than in compliance with parking and that the lot they are developing has owned 32 spots in that development since The Pointe was developed. Those spots are owned directly by the lot they are developing.

 

They expect to have approximately five employees and said they have found in similar situations where parking is not abundant that some employees may carpool or take other means of transportation to work. Regardless, they said that the plan is in compliance with the parking requirements.

 

Variances:  The developer’s reps said they are not requesting any variances and will be in full compliance with Walton County Planning and Building codes, the Historic Inlet Beach Neighborhood Plan and the Scenic Highway 98 codes.

 

Next Steps: The developer will get the new Traffic Study done then go back in front of the Technical Review Committee (TRC). They expect it will be the June TRC meeting.

 

The HIBNA board will keep abreast of this development and communicate with our members. Any help and support from members in keeping abreast of neighborhood developments is encouraged and appreciated. 

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