PORT CHARLOTTE - FLA. — The ambitious $700 million Sunseeker Resort in Charlotte Harbor is looking to expand its offerings with a new commercial marina, but not everyone in the community is on board.
The resort recently submitted a permit request to the Army Corps of Engineers for the marina, which is expected to accommodate 182 boats.
The proposed marina is set to cover an area of over 58,000 square feet and will be supported by 126 steel and 80 wooden piles. A two-acre fixed-rubble breakwater will also be constructed to the south of the marina.
Part of the construction will involve mechanically dredging about 117,000 cubic yards of material to establish the marina area and an entrance channel. However, some residents worry that this increase in boat traffic may bring about additional problems.
Mike Beach, a Port Charlotte resident, expressed his concerns, saying,
"Yeah, probably more trash, I'm not sure about the water quality."
In an effort to minimize the environmental impact, Sunseeker Resort has made several commitments. They have promised to install turbidity curtains and have redesigned the project to eliminate any direct impacts on seagrasses. Additionally, they have decided not to proceed with the proposed construction of a beach.
Despite these efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the proposed project could affect several protected species, including the West Indian manatee, various sea turtle species, giant manta rays, and smalltooth sawfish.
Cassandra Wooden, another Port Charlotte resident, shared her perspective, saying,
"We bought our place here in 2004, and there was nothing like this, and we bought it because of the beautiful waterfront, and we're sorry now about what's happening here."
The decision on whether to grant or deny the permit for this marina project will be based on the assessment of the project's impact on the environment, natural resources, and public interest.