A South Carolina man received approval from the Palm Beach Gardens City Council to move forward with redeveloping his marina located at PGA Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway on Thursday night.
The council granted developers waivers for a number of different requirements, but the most controversial was a waiver to build a higher marina. Port 32 Marinas can now build up to 83 feet, which is more than double the current restriction of 36 feet.
According to city staff, the increase in height would eliminate poor visuals and noise because the dry boat storage racks would be enclosed by the structure.
Austin Schell, who is the chief operation officer for Port 32 Marinas, said the renovation will improve noise and safety improvements on Wednesday. He said the project will also add 57 slips for ships and modernize the marina.
“This was built in the early 1970s,” Schell said. “It’s like any infrastructure that is 50 years old. It no longer meets the requirements of the modern boater. Frankly, the concrete is falling apart. The steel won’t last forever.”
Marissa Rath, who lives near the marina, said she’s concerned because of the size of the building. She believes it doesn’t fit the community.
“The marina will not fit into the community or the surrounding buildings or East PGA Boulevard,” Rath said.
Rath wasn’t the only person with a home near the marina who expressed concern over the height of the building. However, many other people expressed their support for the project at Thursday night’s council meeting.
H. Max Fricker, who said he lives in Palm Beach Gardens, said he likes the project because it fixes poor visual elements.
“I am delighted to hear that the old ugly boat storage metal building and the unsightly elements on site are being replaced with a state-of-the-art new marina and boating center facility,” he said. “[The project] will be a tremendous improvement with economic benefits overall to the Palm Beach Gardens community.”