Development or Destruction?

Some believe the $700 million project proposed for our coastal areas is more of a destruction than a development.

Dekle Beach resident Glenn Senter says the proposed Magnolia Bay Marina and Resort development will ruin his favorite outdoors place.

"Right now it's rare to hear anything other than water ducks, water fowl, wildlife, and the occasional motor from a boat. But with a 400-wetslip marina going in 400 feet away, all we will hear is motors and trailers and trucks and traffic, people."

Dr. J. Crayton Pruitt of St. Petersburg, Florida plans to build resort condominiums and hotels, restaurants, shops and public marinas and boat ramps on 600 acres along Taylor County’s coast.

"You put all this marina and motels and condominiums in here, you're going to increase the runoff. Plus you're going to increase all the pollutants. All the salt marsh out here functions as a filter to filter out pollutants before they get to the gulf. It also functions as a nursery for all kinds of fish and other organisms. When you destroy that, you're just losing everything."

"I'm just against the dissemination of our coastline here. It's so beautiful. We have eagles, ostriches, and we have migrating ducks. I'm against a project of this magnitude."

From the signs posted in many yards, it would appear mostly everyone in the coastal communities are against Magnolia Bay. There are some homeowners that say it's most definitely not true.

"I don't see any huge impact whatsoever from the project."

"We want to see it come here so we can have some restaurants to eat out and more places to put boats in and take up some of the uses of the canal."

There are dozens of letters petitioning Magnolia Bay. A letter from the Florida Wildlife Federation to county and state officials reads, “Please note that this project unfortunately shall destroy the very attributes which make Taylor County one of the most pristine in the state."

"We're working very hard with the project team and the regulatory agencies to minimize and avoid any impacts to the environment by refocusing the design of the project and looking for ways to mitigate and compensate for any project impact."

Developers say Magnolia Bay will add significant, beneficial real estate taxes. Opponents say the development will also be a destruction to their property values.