Protesters Decry Briny Breezes Development Plans
By Laura Ammerman
April 26, 2007
BRINY BREEZES, FL - With the sound of waves crashing in the background, a crowd gathered at the county's Gulfstream Park today to learn how one group is responding to the proposed development of nearby Briny Breezes.
Amid flying pelicans and waving palm trees, members and supporters of the newly formed Florida Coalition for Preservation Inc. described the damage they believe Ocean Land's plans to build 900 condominiums, 300 time-share units and a luxury hotel on 43 acres of property would bring.
They emphasized the increased traffic, water demand and sewage production the development would bring to the barrier island and also shared concern about the ability to quickly evacuate the area in case of a hurricane.
"Look around you. This is Florida at its best," said Robert Ganger, a co-founder of the group. "We want to preserve this wonderful place for future generations to enjoy, and particularly the kids that are wandering around here and enjoying this pretty park.
"Only a few hundred yards from here, a developer wants to build a small city in tiny Briny Breezes. We think the developers' plans are irresponsible, and we want the voice of Briny Breezes' neighbors, particularly those who live from Delray up through Manalapan, to be heard."
Thaddeus Cohen, former secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs; Ocean Ridge Mayor Ken Kaleel; Tom Evans, the coalition's chairman and a former U.S. representative for Delaware; Ed Tichenor of Palm Beach County Reef Rescue; and Gulf Stream resident Nancy Wibbelsman, who serves on the board of a developer, also spoke.
"It's not about having our view ruined or something soft and fluffy like that," Wibbelsman said after the meeting. "It's about protecting the environment, and much more importantly, the character of the community, and safety."
Speakers encouraged residents to contact state and national politicians and voice their opinions on the matter.
Beside the podium, an easel held a poster drawn by the Evans' granddaughter. Bright crayon strokes depicted a placid beach, sea turtles begging for help and a crossed out picture of high-rise buildings.
Blue letters begged: "No big buildings or high-risers! Save Briny Breezes! Save the Beaches! Save Nature! Save the Sea Turtles!"