Proposed Clearwater Marina expansion deep-sixed by development board
CLEARWATER—The city’s Community Development Board scrapped a proposal to expand Clearwater Basin Marina after city planners and neighbors objected to a 200-slip dry dock facility.
The 6-1 vote Tuesday supported planners’ concerns about violating the city’s plans for downtown development and residents’ fears of increased noise and traffic at the N Osceola Avenue marina, which currently has 66 wet slips for boats in the water.
Developers argued that the dry dock would boost activity downtown and provide a place for Clearwater residents to store their boats. Hundreds of dry dock slips have been lost to condo development in the past decade, they said.
Neighbors should have been consulted about the marina’s plans, said Thomas Coates, the board’s chairman.
But he said he hoped the developers would return with a more modest plan.
“I’d love to see something come before this board, because this neighborhood really needs it,” Coates said.
Another attempt will probably be made,said David McComas, president of European Equities Corp., which developed a similar marina in Tierra Verde.
McComas noted the city had no problem accommodating a plan for a new $160 million Clearwater Marine Aquarium to its downtown vision.
“There was nothing in the code for the aquarium,” McComas said, adding that the dry dock was "the highest, best use for the property.”
Board member Norma Carlough, who cast the lone opposing vote, said the city needs more marina space for its boating culture, and added, “We can’t pin all our hopes on one project to save downtown.”