(Reprise) Bizarre Proposal to Partially Fill North Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, AICW Statute Mile 1014
Posted by Larry | Posted on 09-23-2012
Back on 5/17/12, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’s Net published an article about a totally crazy plan to partially fill North Lake Work, principally to render this body of water unfit for anchorage by cruising craft (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=83837). Sadly, this hair-brained notion is still alive.
North Lake Worth has long been a popular anchorage, often used as a jumping-off point before heading southeast for the islands or as a much needed rest stop when returning. It is easily accessed from the AICW as the Waterway enters northern Lake Worth, hard by the community of North Palm Beach.
We can scarcely add any better words that what was said to introduce the topic last time, so we will just replicate that intro here!
“Since the struggle for Florida anchoring rights began in the 1990′s, I have personally witnessed and been involved with some truly bizarre attempts to run anchored vessels out of city and county waters, BUT this proposed action by the COUNTY of Palm Beach, must take the proverbial cake. As you will read below, Palm Beach County is proposing to FILL IN A GOODLY PORTION OF THE POPULAR ANCHORAGE AND MOORING FIELD IN NORTH LAKE WORTH, and plant sea grass in the newly raised bottom strata. The resulting depths once such a project is completed are in dispute. Some say it would be 6 feet, and others say 3 1/2 to 4 feet. Whatever the depths, you cannot anchor or set moorings in sea grass beds. The final results would be that a major portion of North Lake Worth would become inaccessible to the cruising community!
And, if that is not bizarre enough, Palm Beach County has apparently formulated these proposals with no reference to the adjacent village of North Palm Beach. As you will see from the strong letter, copied below (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=83837), from North Palm Beach Mayor, Darryl C. Aubrey, and other members of the town council, they were not informed, nor consulted in this matter.”
Cruisers as well as local boaters should be aware that Palm Beach County is trying to destroy this portion of the lake and eliminate the anchorage.
The Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management “ERM” had fast tracked an application to fill in the center of the lake with 750,000 cubic yards of fill from a prominent marine developer’s project under the guise of “restoring the habitat”.
They planned to fill the center of the lake to a depth of approximately 3 feet claiming that it would create a new sea grass area. There would be a 200 foot wide perimeter channel around the “grass island” to allow access to the marinas and private homes in the area.
Fortunately, this came to the attention of the North Palm Beach Village Council just in time. There was only 30 days left to comment on the permit application to the Army COE prior to it being approved.
The Council objected to the permit, requested an extension of the comment period and requested a meeting with ERM.
At the meeting it became clear that the ERM representative had been pushing this project on behalf of the developer so that he had a place to dump the dredge spoil from a huge project about to begin. Under pressure from the NPB Council ERM agreed that proper due diligence had not been done and agreed to pull the application until the project is started over with input from all involved.
THIS IS NOT OVER! ERM will present another version of the project at some point so everyone concerned, local or cruiser needs to stay informed.
Let the Village of North Palm Beach know you support their opposition and let the Palm Beach County Commission know that you don’t want this beautiful anchorage turned into a developer’s dump.
For those not familiar with North Lake Worth, it is one of the best and largest anchorages in southeast Florida, and it is a very popular spot to wait for a favorable weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. It is strategically located, and also provides easy access to shopping of all types. I have personally spent many hundreds of dollars there several times while stocking up for a trip to the Bahamas. The loss of this anchorage would be a major loss for many southbound cruising boaters.
It seems that the State of Florida and its municipalities definately do not what boats anchored it waters within the State. On the otherhand, they sure like the money that cruisers spend in the state. Well, they can’t have it both ways. They cave in to the properety owners who think they own the water (which is public).
Furthermore, restictions of boaters are prejudicial and discriminatatory. Requiring out of state boaters to register their boats in Florida after 90 days, is outragious. They don’t try to do that with RVs and autos of snowbirds, who come to Florida by the thousands, and likely spend 120 days or more. It is that boats are easier to track.