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On Captain’s BBQ at Bing’s, Commissioner Hansen Says Compromise Is On the Table

| January 11, 2019

County Commissioner Greg Hansen. (© FlaglerLive)

County Commissioner Greg Hansen. (© FlaglerLive)

Joy Ellis is the vice president of the Hammock Community Association, whose voices are among those that caused the Flagler County Commission to pause and rethink plans to expand Captain’s BBQ at Bing’s Landing, at least in the one location the county administration had proposed. The association did so, not least, through a legal appeal of the county’s disputed lease amendment with Captain’s. 

On Wednesday, Ellis met with Commissioners Charlie Ericksen and Greg Hansen, in succession, at the Government Services Building in Bunnell. She wanted to tell them–as a private citizen rather than a representative of the association–about her experience with county staff during a previous development issue, an experience that had not gone well. Ellis was hoping the outcome might be different regarding Bing’s. She was looking for more transparency and willingness on the administration’s part to provide objective answers to various questions, rather than answers predicated by what the administration wanted to see happen on a given issue. 

The meeting went well with Ericksen–jovial, relaxed, but for the odd appearance at the beginning of the meeting of Sean Moylan, from the county attorney’s office, who was told to sit in, along with Sally Sherman: he’d been told the meeting may involve personnel issues. Ericksen and Ellis told him he needn’t be there, and he left. When Sherman, the deputy county administrator, appeared, Ericksen shooed her off, too. 

The meeting with Hansen did not start well. “My meeting with Commissioner Hansen started with him red-faced saying to me, ‘I am so mad I am going to build that fucking restaurant no matter what,'” Ellis wrote on Thursday in an email circulated to Hammock Community Association members. “Yes, he said f*********.  I had not said anything at this point.  He said his life was made miserable and that he was receiving hate mail. His integrity had been questioned, and he was mad.  He said Mike is his friend, and he wants the restaurant on the planned location 3.” 

Location 3, or Option 3, is the one option that former County Administrator Craig Coffey presented to the commission last month, when the commission approved the relocation of Captain’s toward the center of the park, an option Hammock residents and many others oppose for how it would jeopardize the character of the park. At the time, Coffey had not presented what would end up being five more options, one of them proving to be much more palatable to opponents of option 3, and even agreeable to Captain’s owners, as a compromise. 

In her email, Ellis, who confirmed the details of her conversation with Hansen in a interview,  said Hansen was “going to try to get this thing passed at the meeting on Monday night,” meaning on Jan. 14. “He has no interest or concern about the cost to the County which are not in the budget and as yet not totally quantified.”

Hansen, in an interview, did not dispute that his meeting with Ellis started on the wrong foot: he was truly upset, and had reason to be: “You can call me a lot of things and I don’t mind, but when you call me a crook and I lack integrity,” he said, referring to statements by critics who implied he’d acted improperly regarding Bing’s, “that really upset me, it really did, and I didn’t handle that very well. But I tried to explain to her why I was not in the best mood.” 

Ellis agrees: as the meeting went on, for almost 40 minutes, Hansen was more affable, and entertained Ellis’s concerns and suggestion that Captain’s look at siting the restaurant on the Intracoastal outside Bing’s, at an old boating storage facility being turned into a restaurant and retail zone in the future. (The plan has gone before the Scenic A1A committee.) Hansen looked into it with Mike Goodman, the co-owner of Captain’s, and later wrote Ellis in an email that “Mike has met with the owner of the property we discussed. The owner will not be ready for a restaurant for three plus years.”

But Hansen disputed Ellis’s other take-away from his meeting with her: his mind is not made up, he said adamantly, he did not think the matter would even be ready to be discussed again at Monday’s meeting, since he’s asked the administration for a set of estimates that may not be ready, and he still sees a viable compromise in the siting of the restaurant. 

“I said I prefer the original positioning because I didn’t want to deprive the public of the use of that picnic area, that covered pavilion, because that’s one of the most popular pavilions in the county,” Hansen said. “But if the consensus is to replace the pavilion with the restaurant and to move the pavilion up to where the restaurant was going to be, I can live with that, I can go with that. I prefer option 3, but I can live with option 4, that was my point.”

Goodman said he’d be willing to go with option 4 as a compromise, and a majority of the commission earlier this week seemed willing to go with that option, as did a majority of the audience attending a workshop on the issue.

The pavilion would likelier be moved to the existing restaurant’s location, so as not to recreate the same issue that provoked the controversy in the first place: the siting of the restaurant in the center of the park, an open, green area with unobstructed views on the Intracoastal. 

Still, Hansen left Ellis with an impression reflected by another association member’s understanding of the meeting, framed in part by how Hansen and Coffey had appeared at an HCA meeting just last Tuesday: “Hansen arrived with a chip on his shoulder and announced Bing’s Landing was off the table,” that association member said. “He and Coffey went on to give a report on current and future Flagler County projects. Sadly, no one talked about the elephant in the room.”

When the commission’s agenda for Monday’s meeting was posted on the county’s website Friday–the first meeting where Coffey will no longer be present, since his resignation became effective today– the Bing’s landing issue was not on it. 


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39 Responses for “On Captain’s BBQ at Bing’s, Commissioner Hansen Says Compromise Is On the Table”

  1. marlee says:

    Thank you, Joy Ellis , for speaking truth to power…!

  2. tulip says:

    The bully is rapidly fully emerging, and he has now proven by his statement to Ms Ellis that he indeed does have a special interest in his friend Mike’s getting a bigger restaurant and will run over anyone in his way, plus he wants it in the middle and even more space will be covered by parking lot. The bully will probably win and another unhappy decision will be made which will also anger other restaurants who pay all their fees to run a business, pay the proper amount of taxes, rent, etc., and follow the rules.

    If Option 3 of this really does happen, the majority of the people that frequent and enjoy Bing’s Landing as it is now will look at the ruination and not think too highly of Hansen and maybe his buddies on and off the BOCC.

  3. DoubleGator says:

    Option 4 is the way to go… move restaurant to pavilion site more pavilion to restaurant site and hook up to sewer line. Move on. Easy decision!

  4. Dave says:

    This park should not and will not be allowed to facilitate a buisness. A law suit against the county by the people will be coming foward soon. How dare this crooked Hansen be allowed to sell out his own constituents,he has zero integrity! Keep Captains and their dirty political money out of Bings landing!! See you Sunday to protest Bings!

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    In light of how the BOCC handled Coffey Gate they should be very careful handling the Captains BBQ issue…

    The BOCC has failed to properly handle every major deal since the Sheriff’s Office Operations Center. In the case of Captains the public is now aware that Captains owners paid bribes oops I meant “campaign contributions” to ensure that the deal got moved thru with no public notice.

    It was only after Flagler Live got it and made it public that the citizens of Flagler County knew about it. I’m pretty sure at this point that we not only have improprieties with the bribes but Sunshine Laws were most likely violated as well

    If the BOCC allows the owners to build regardless of public opinion then they should keep this in mind. Votes of No Confidence and recalls are very damaging to a Commissioners tenure. Likewise investigations by State and Federal authorities are very distracting and time consuming.

    Flagler County desperately needs a forensic audit and investigation for financial discrepancies. Way to much money is being tossed around with little input by citizens.

    Commissioner Hansen needs to work on his professionalism. Telling the citizens that are concerned about this issue to “F Off: is not something to be taking lightly. And when you go about taking bribes and doing shady deals in the dark that is why your integrity is being questioned.

  6. Disgusted says:

    You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a Pig . a suit on a politician doesn’t make him a gentleman .

  7. A Dedicated American says:

    Greg Hansen received $2000. in campaign money from Michael Goodman, $1000. from Attorney Jay Livingston (Goodman’s Attorney) and $1000. from Chris Herrera. Of course Hansen wants that restaurant. He has an obligation. My understanding is Hansen should recuse himself of any voting on Bings Landing. The way he handled himself with Joy Ellis was and is unacceptable.

  8. MM says:

    Blah blah blah!Seriously nobody has mentioned about the liquor!No liquor license beer is enough and keep existing building that’s a no brainer!Kids playing in park what happens when liquor license is given?Not good !Captains should’ve never asked for a liquor license in the park!Really?

  9. can't believe it says:

    Commissioners are suppose to make decisions based on facts of each item or issue as presented, and hear all information prior to making decisions. Hansen needs to be removed from making any decisions regarding this matter. His conduct is unprofessional and out of line with the office of Commissioner.

  10. FlaglerRedo says:

    I’m confused…..why should the residents compromise on this issue? What do we get out of it?

  11. Just the facts says:

    Enough said:
    “The meeting with Hansen did not start well. “My meeting with Commissioner Hansen started with him red-faced saying to me, ‘I am so mad I am going to build that fucking restaurant no matter what,’” Ellis wrote on Thursday in an email circulated to Hammock Community Association members. “Yes, he said f*********. I had not said anything at this point. He said his life was made miserable and that he was receiving hate mail. His integrity had been questioned, and he was mad. He said Mike is his friend, and he wants the restaurant on the planned location 3.”

  12. KJ says:

    I don’t know anything about Hansen other than what I just read in this article and it doesn’t matter sir if you are not a crook, your language to a constituent is wrong and uncalled for. You sound like a petulent child and I believe based on what was reported you said if true you should step down.

  13. Lin says:

    And Hansen made reference to quantifying costs to the county.
    Not only do we have to endure a bigger out-if-character business in our park, but now we have to bear unspecified costs in $. There is no win for the citizens in any of these so-called compromises.

  14. snapperhead says:

    Can’t take the heat,get out of the kitchen commissioner. You’ve brought most of the wrath on yourself with your staunch support of Coffey and poor votes you’ve cast…time to own it.

  15. tulip says:

    I keep getting a gut feeling that the BOCC would make the new restaurant with the new amenities their own personal “hangout” , dinner and meeting place. Naturally the owners would give them a good discount as a way of saying Thanks. No matte what option is chosen the whole thing is still very unfair to other restaurants, as they don’t get any “deals” from the county and, ultimately, with a larger building and the larger parking lots that will ensue, the residents lose some very nice property to relax in and enjoy.

  16. JT says:

    Based on the above comments, Commissioner of District 2 should resign.

    In the meeting, he treated a respected member of the HCA , Hammock Community and voting citizen with disrespect. His self proclaimed biases are documented. His inability to govern and represent his constituents vs. his personal interests are of great concern.

    Flagler County Government should not be in the Commercial real estate business. Of course, maybe we now have to be because of approval of this in the first place without following the process for such projects. This is now costing taxpayers $$$ .

  17. palmcoaster says:

    Hansen needs to be recalled for disrespecting the constituents also for conflict of interest as his friend owns the restaurant and he needs to abstain from voting if not recalled by then.
    Get the Business BBQ out of the park enough have costed the taxpayers so far!

  18. hammockresident says:

    I have watched Hansen, as Board Chairman, bark out orders in commission meetings to taxpayers voicing their opinions, like he was talking to some deck hand on a Navy ship. He’s been living off the Government too long. I’ve heard people talking about recall.

  19. Concerned Citizen says:

    If Commissioner Hansen’s life is miserable it’s of his own doing. If his integrity is being questioned it’s of his own doing.

    When you take bribes and then try to do business in the dark that’s called unethical. When you have to tell your constituents to basically F off that’s lack of integrity and conduct unbecoming.

    Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Not after Flagler Live exposes you for the crook you really are.

    If this seems harsh oh well. I’m pretty sure others like me are tired of our County Commissioners not doing their jobs and wasting significant amounts of money in the process.

    Mr, Hansen you owe Ms.Ellis a public apology for your language and behavior. And you owe us an apology for your unethical behavior.

  20. capt says:

    . That kind of language is not appropriate for the representative of the people he is supposed to support.

  21. aloyd hurley says:

    Vote him out of office, next election……..

  22. Jane Gentile-Youd says:

    Commissioner Hansen will need to recuse himself based on his statement alone ” I am going to build that…… no matter what”

    ( I ran for county commission the same time as Greg Hansen and I didn’t get $4,000 from the Bings mob like he did.; they didn’t give me a dime ! That’s ) another reason he will need to recuse himself from all Bings mob votes- unless ( of course) our over paid blind county attorney Al Hadeed comes up with some legal sounding bull……….

  23. Concerned Citizen says:

    Due to his lack of integrity, personal bias and misconduct Commisioner Hansen has already failed to represent his constituents properly.

    Not only is he a County Comissioner he is Vice-Chair of the BOCC and as such should be held to higher standards. A Vice-Chairman does not allow himself to lose composure to the point of using profanity in a county meeting. Or otherwise for that matter.

    A vote of NO CONFIDENCE and a RECALL should be initiated immediatley.

    Mr. Hansen your consituents don’t just consist of the owners of Captains BBQ. Even if you did accept bribes. Your responsability consists of your ENTIRE district and because you are Vice-Chairman the ENTIRE county.

  24. Denali 94 says:

    For the life of me I do not understand the need for any sort of ‘compromise’. If the folks from Captains want a new building in our park, and if the citizens of the county agree that they are entitled to a new building then they should be allowed to build that building where we tell them, not where they demand.

    Additionally, there is a whole lot here that just stinks. Hansen and McLaughlin receiving campaign monies from Captain’s and not recusing themselves from the initial voting. Coffee’s behind-the-back efforts to ram this through the BOCC without all the facts and costs. Hansen continuing to recuse himself. Hansen’s outburst to Ms Ellis. A lame excuse from Hansen about integrity? (HINT – Greg, you have none) Maybe these folks need to be shown the door? Oops, McLaughlin was voted out, Coffee was shown the door and now there is one. Tick Tock Greg,

  25. Carmello Santangelo says:

    Mr. Hansen,
    We as tax payers are expanding this business with our money. This septic system will have to meet the requirements of the FDOH and the Flagler County LDC and will require a mounded system due to the high water table and the FEMA flood plain. We will pay for this in the site work cost.. Property taxes are to support County services and should not be used for this project. There have been no new businesses in the Hammock due to the Zoning Code which only allows commercial uses with a residential component, there have been dozens of businesses prospects sent packing because of this. This deal was under the shroud of darkness and you should rethink you life and political career, you are here to serve the people not yourself.

  26. Flatsflyer says:

    Another option and the best one is to do nothing, let the current lease expire and send these political shills packing. The County should never get involved with private business ventures. Bobby Ginned should have been enough to teach us that lesson. The new lesson is that when your digging your own grave stop before it caves in on you!

  27. Agkistrodon says:

    Anyone on the Commission that votes to allow any expansion, You should and probably will be voted out if you are in an elected position. All for a LIQUOR LICENSE. Doesn’t this county park have hours of operation.

  28. Resident says:

    He needs to recuse himself if he is not a crook. His behaviour is rude and unacceptable. No matter how you spin this it is a bad deal for the community.

  29. michael H. Brown says:

    what an amazing interaction — he is going to do what he wants for a “friend” no matter what is good for the county he allegedly represents. People should not just protest at Bing’s. They should protest at his office, and when he runs for re-election.

  30. Dave says:

    I agree we should also protest Hansens office! He has blantenly stated that he wants to help a friend over helping do what the will of the people is. What kind of a person curses at a woman in a professional setting!?

  31. ASF says:

    I think that the folk that have been so vocal in their adamant concerns that the restaurant not be allowed to expand and encroach upon the community all sign a personal pledge that each and every one of them will never seek any permit to expand THEIR residences…so they, likewise, wont be encroaching on the environment of our fair city.

  32. Concerned Citizen says:

    While we have momentum going against Hansen we need to capiltalize on it. How do you start votes of NO CONFIDENCE and petion for RECALL?

  33. Flagler Paddler says:

    And there is Option 6: Captains moves across the street to the old Rosie’s building!

  34. Richard says:

    ASF – and what planet are you from? That makes about as much sense as the commissioners trying to boondoggle this through without the residents knowledge.

  35. tulip says:

    To ASF There is a big difference between a business that is in a commercial business zone wanting to expand and a business that is in a prime piece of real estate donated by someone who wanted it to remain an enjoyable park for the public to enjoy various activities. Not only that but they are paying hardly anything for it, a bonus of which other businesses do not get. Too many public places like the beaches are being taken away from the public or made harder to access because of development for personal gain.

  36. snapperhead says:

    @ASF…I hereby pledge to never ask the county commission to subsidize expansion of my personal property by giving me a ridiculous low ball lease or paying for a new septic system ,destruction of my old property or any other associated expenses or approve any plans for such that isn’t required by every other property owner. That was EASY!

  37. Agkistrodon says:

    Apples and Oranges ASF. My residence would NOT encroach on a COUNTY PARK. Nice try though, your reasoning is highly flawed.

  38. capt says:

    @ASF “permit to expand THEIR residences” there is a huge difference in our property ” we own it” not rent it from the county. We are not getting handouts from the county in some “good old boy” pat on the back monetary support package for a cheap lease.

  39. Do the right thing says:

    We the people did not purchase BINGS for it to be leased at a fraction of the going rate and for someone private business to build on this property! We do not agree with the low lease, the fact that it was to be leased for a bait shop and we have been duped into a place for one to open a place to buy bar b que instead. We don’t want Captain’s there, and we want to preserve the park for what it was intended! Stop all this crazy, end the bogus lease, and let us have back our land that belongs to us the tax payers!!

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