Palm Coast, FL – February 18 2015 – Commentary: Here we go again. Sea Ray, one of Flagler County’s largest private sector employers, wants to extend their employee parking lot to the south of Sea Ray Drive. But residents of North Lambert Avenue are not pleased with the idea. They showed up, armed with lots of chutzpah, at a recent Flagler County Planning & Development Board to speak against Sea Ray’s plans.
I once heard chutzpah explained like this. Chutzpah is like when a young man, on trial for the brutal murder of both parents, pleads for mercy from the court because he is an orphan.
The residents – I’ll refer to them as North Lambertonians – were armed with the standard emotion-laden anti-development and anti-manufacturing arguments. They spoke of odor emissions and noise. They spoke of visual pollution. They invoked the environment. They cited an “expert” opinion that their property values would plummet.
GoToby.com took a look at the 38 home sites at the north end of Lambert Ave.; those closest to Sea Ray. Now that section of Lambert is not your typical industrial blighted neighborhood. Here are 28 homes. The homes average 3,719 square feet of living area. The property appraiser pegs their True (Market) Value at an average $456,760. Twenty-three of the 28 homes are homesteaded. In other words, they knowingly built their primary residence near or next to Sea Ray’s plant.
The Sea Ray boat manufacturing plant was built in 1984. Only one of the North Lambert homes was built by that time. Two more were built the same year as Sea Ray, presumably with the homeowner’s full knowledge that they would be near a manufacturing site.
Sixteen of North Lambert’s homes are on the Intracoastal Waterway or Lehigh cut (canal). The remaining 11 homes are on the west side, or Sea Ray side. All 11 were built after the Sea Ray plant was opened. They average 3,121 square feet of living space and are valued at an average of $333,046. Six of the 11 homes have been resold since they were built; average selling price $364,333.
Only one North Lambert home is listed for sale. It’s on the Sea Ray side. It’s listed for $360,000; 59.7% above the Property Appraiser’s Just Value assignment. That’s $135.80 per square foot. (I wonder if their “Seller’s Disclosure Statement” includes a mention of the potential loss of value.)
Speaking to those few North Lambertonians who have been so vocally anti-Sea Ray, I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for you. I hope the Board of County Commissioners agrees with me.