In yet another setback for Flagler Beach’s attempt to lease its iconic Pier Restaurant to a new owner, the Florida Division of Environmental Protection this week told the city that it would not issue a permit enabling construction of a new deck on the ocean side of the restaurant.
DEP’s rejection again puts in question a long-term lease Flagler Beach and Ray Barshay, an Ormond Beach restaurateur, have been negotiating arduously for months. The city, which owns the building, had agreed to build a deck for $50,000 as one of its concessions to Barshay. A deck would enable outdoors dining and would presumably yield higher profits. A deck was among the recommendations issued by a consultant the city hired to prepare a report on how to proceed with a new lease.
“We’re going to challenge it,” Acting City Manager Bruce Campbell said of DEP’s verbal rejection of the city’s permit request. “We’re not going to just roll over and play dead.”
Last Monday the city transmitted its latest lease proposal to Barshay. Campbell said Barshay was pleased, and that the city was going to be close to formalizing the deal by ordinance. That was before DEP’s decision. Campbell said he didn’t think the deck issue would be a deal-breaker with Barshay. On the other hand, numerous items in the lease, from the future management of the Bait and Tackle Shop to the city’s construction of a lifeguard tower adjacent to the restaurant, on the south side of the pier, brought negotiations to the brink several times.
Absent a deck, Barshay, whose negotiating style combines velvety patience with shark instincts, may well seek further concessions from the city in other parts of the lease. Ron Vath was among the commissioners who’d resisted granting Barshay further concessions. Vath is no longer on the commission, and the two new commissioners–Marshall Shupe and Kim Carney–are untested in the ring with Barshay, though the other three commissioners have not rolled over, either.
The physical limit of the Pier Restaurant on the beach extends right up to what DEP calls the seasonal high water line. A deck would extend further than that line. DEP also expects that over the next 30 years, that line may move further inland, accounting for about a third of the width of the existing building, unless erosion-fighting measures such as beach re-nourishment takes place.
The existing lease-holder of the Pier Restaurant is looking to get out out of the lease. The city has been negotiating with Barshay since last year. It has no other equally solid prospects, at least none that have pledged to invest upwards of $300,000 in the property.
The lease and an update on the Bait and Tackle Shop’s future are both on the commission’s agenda next week. The commission meets Thursday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m.
This is probably the first time I’ve ever agreed with a DEP ruling, but sadly I’m pretty sure it will be overturned.
Is this guy the ONLY person in the world who wants to lease the restaurant???
Outsider, Your answer is NO, what you have here is an over anxious commission. Word from a wise old owl on the street says this, with the package they are trying to give him it will take F.B. seven long years to break even on the deal. F.B. residents need to pay attention to this sweetheart deal.
cyd weeks says
“unless erosion-fighting measures such as beach re-nourishment takes place.”
Gee…there’s a concept. If they don’t start doing something you won’t have to worry about the restaurant. Your visitors will be going to Daytona and St. Augustine where there is actually a beach to visit besides at low tide.
J. Ricardi says
So far Mr. Barshay is the only leasee willing to invest $350,000. of his own money to upgrade the City Owned restaurant. A tidy sum in these tough times. At last meeting, he is also willing to take the bait shop and try to make it a paying proposition instead losing money for we taxpayers.
The deck was a concept, to be constructed, IF, it could be permitted. Both parties understood it could be an issue with the DEP.
County Worker says
I hope and pray that Mr. Barshay gets tired of getting jerked around and tells Flagler Beach where they can stick there pier. If there is one thing we are good at in Flagler County its finding any way possible to chase or scare away potential businesses.
I am shocked to learn that city commissioners and administrators planned/offered a deck as part of the improvements for the lease “without contacting the permitting agencies prior to offering” I just can believe that. I figured that when deck was mentioned was because they already had the permits approved. Even myself I know that anything on a beach or wetlands or creeks need a EPA or DEP or the mother of all permits agencies approval, before anyone moves a foot. Even Reynolds “the loggerheads lady” may come around and stop the project when she will hear about it. Oh may oh may.
I firmly believe that even with the $350,000 site repair Mr. Barshay will get his money back and make a profit given the low rent, even without the deck.
taxpayers get to pay for the restaurants deck?………
how about NO