FLAGLER BEACH – The Flagler Beach City Commission Thursday evening approved two developments which will shape the city. A new car wash on the corner of Moody Blvd and John Anderson Hwy and a hotel in the heart of the city will both start construction in the near future. Both will require a currently vacant lot to be cleared.
The first major agenda item of the night was the presentation of a final site plan application for an automated car wash at the corner of SR-100 and John Anderson Hwy. The site now is a hilly area of foliage, across the street from CVS and mostly known for its political signs during campaign season (as well as one or two AskFlagler signs). It is the southeast corner at the intersection of two of Flagler County’s major roads.
A representative of Caliber Car Wash LLC was on-hand to present the logistical plans to the City Commission. He engaged in a dialogue with the Commissioners, as well as the City Manager and City Planner.
The Commissioners seemed generally on-board with the idea during the deliberation. “I want to see the car wash because it’s business in Flagler Beach,” remarked Ken Bryan in his second meeting as Commission Chair. But the Commissioners had received feedback from their constituents which they also presented to the car wash company.
Only one resident came forward to make public comment despite an audience that was nearly full. Angela Smith brought up the concern of sewage smell as a result of the development, as well as traffic concerns. Caliber’s representative assured the Commission in response that runoff water would be properly accounted for and that traffic will be manageable. A turn lane being added in near the car wash is not out of the question at this stage, and was mentioned as a possibility.
Commissioner Jane Mealy briefly reminisced about being able to see the stars from her Flagler Beach residence, something she hasn’t been able to do since the Publix store went up on the north side of Moody Blvd. Still, she acquiesced that since the lot was commercial property, its fate was more or less sealed.
Commissioner Eric Cooley made the motion to approve the plan, and was seconded by Vice Chair Deborah Phillips. A roll call vote gave life to the car wash, by a unanimous 5-0. It’s expected to bring between 20 and 25 jobs to the area.
A proposed hotel has been a contentious issue in Flagler Beach for some time now. It would occupy the vacant lot directly west of Veterans Park, bordering Moody Blvd to the north, and between S Central Ave and S Daytona Ave. The plan represented the most drastic change to the Flagler County skylight in recent years.
One major way this development will change Flagler Beach is that it will make S Central Ave (the first street parallel to A1A) a one-way street, moving southbound. S Daytona Ave will remain two-way. The developers agreed to change out some of the parallel parking apparatuses around the hotel.
Regarding parking concerns, Commissioner Cooley defended the new development against residents’ skepticism online: “We have a lot more space on a day-to-day basis than what usually [comes to mind]. When you think of parking, a lot of folks think about the peak days. They’ll think about the Fourth of July. When you look at the other 98% of days, we have ample space.”
This will mark the tenth location in Florida for Margaritaville Hotels & Results, a brand which already has locations across the United States, in Mexico, and the Caribbean.
There was brief discussion of the height of the building, which goes over 40 feet in places. The Flagler Beach City Charter lists in its section on land development that: ‘roof height shall not exceed thirty-five (35) feet above the finished grade as described herein.’ The hotel’s plan would have it higher than this code.
Another brief hangup in the conversation was the hotel’s eastern land plot, which would be a rectangular portion of the beach sand just south of SR-100, straight east of the hotel land. Commissioners Mealy and Cooley discussed what access would look like when the hotel controlled that land; the determination was that they’d place their own chairs and umbrellas in the sand, but that the area and amenities would be available for public use, hotel guest or not.
Six public commenters came up for the hotel, with only one expressing disapproval.
All these concerns addressed, Commissioner Cooley made the motion to approve the application. He was seconded by Commissioner Mealy. With a 5-0 vote, the hotel was born.
“They did their legwork to get approved, and I put the trust in our City Planner [and] our City Manager,” said freshman Commissioner James Sherman. His colleague, Commissioner Phillips concurred, saying the projects “bring revenue in, bring employment opportunities to Flagler Beach.”
Chair Ken Bryan “We need some new businesses in Flagler Beach. It’s gonna generate some revenue, as well as provide some employment for some individuals in the area. I think it’s probably a good fit.” Bryan did, however, acknowledge the concerns regarding parking and traffic. “I am concerned about the traffic on John Anderson…but we’re limited with what we can do, because the individual developers do have certain rights that they are entitled to. So I will just have to depend on the County to do the right thing whenever there’s a situation.”