LETTER TO THE EDITOR, PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS
From the Civic Association
May 29, 2011
Palm Beach Daily News
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
W. Bradford Gary’s criticism of the Palm Beach Civic Association (Palm Beach Daily News, Sunday, May 15, 2011) is unwarranted and totally unfounded. The Civic Association does not seek to restrict school children on Peanut Island, nor does the Association wish to prevent young people from eating lunch while they enjoy the island’s historic attractions. These claims are preposterous!
As Mr. Gary knows, the Civic Association is concerned about a much bigger issue on Peanut Island: the Maritime Academy’s proposal to construct a new 4,500 sq. ft. stand-alone, open-to-the-public restaurant with a liquor license and seating for 150 people.
The Academy’s full scale commercial venture would be located on Palm Beach’s doorstep or, as Mr. Gary points out, “just over 100 yards north of Palm Beach on the Sailfish Club channel.”
The new restaurant would be much more than a cafeteria for school children. As planned, it is a massive public dining facility designed to attract boaters and other adult visitors, large parties, special events, and catered activities that generate income.
For example, the Maritime Academy is seeking a liquor license for its new Peanut Island restaurant. What does alcohol have to do with young people on day trips to the island?
The new restaurant on Peanut Island will lead to dramatic unwanted over-commercialization of an area that is prized for its natural beauty and pristine environment. It will generate excessive noise at all hours and create increased congestion on the Intracoastal Waterway in an already hazardous commercial shipping channel for the Port of Palm Beach. Public safety, support services and infrastructure on the island are not adequate to handle the proposed facility.
The Palm Beach Town Council recently reaffirmed its opposition to the over-commercialization of Peanut Island. Council members unanimously agreed that Peanut Island should remain a natural tropical island park with public access for boaters.
The Palm Beach Civic Association opposes--and will continue to oppose—a major commercial restaurant on Peanut Island because the Association is committed to protecting Palm Beach as a one-of-a-kind residential community.