FORT PIERCE — More than 700 vehicles a day would be added to State Road A1A when a marina is built on the site of the former Causeway Mobile Home Park, next to the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority plant, according to a traffic study on the project.
Property owner Ashton DePeyster of Palm Beach wants to build the $2.9 million Causeway Cove Marina RV park on 18 acres of the former mobile home park. The park was demolished after it was destroyed in the 2004 hurricanes.
Phase 1, tentatively slated to begin this summer, is 47 boat slips, 10 RV spots, a boat ramp, dock master station, laundry facilities and shuffle board court. Cost is $1.6 million.
Phase 2, to be built within five years, involves an additional 151 dock slips and 14 offshore mooring spaces and would cost an additional $1.3 million, said developer Harold “Buzz” Smyth.
The marina would be marketed to owners of vessels between 15 and 23 feet, Smyth said.
About 11,044 vehicles a day now travel on State Road A1A south from Binney Drive to South Causeway Park, exceeding the road’s capacity, according to a fall 2015 traffic count from the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization.
But Smyth defends the increase in traffic, saying it wouldn’t be any worse than when the site was used as a mobile home park .
“When there was a mobile home park, there were cars going in and out and it didn’t disrupt traffic,” Smyth said. “I’ll be surprised if we get 50 cars a day. Most of the traffic will come from boats, and they won’t have any cars with them.”
A traffic solution could be to improve the gravel road under the South Causeway Bridge so traffic turning west from the marina would not block A1A. Smyth said signs would be placed to direct traffic.
The city Planning Board recommended approval Jan. 12, and the project goes before the City Commission on Feb. 16 for a final vote, said city senior planner Kori Benton.
City planners generally support the project.
The city has received no formal opposition, but is aware that some groups oppose having laundry facilities at the marina.
Developing the private marina stems from a 2012 community workshop, where members of the public said they wanted the property redeveloped into a mixed-use area with a marina, convention center or hotel, with residential, restaurants, and public parking if the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority wastewater treatment plant is removed from South Hutchinson Island.
FPUA officials estimates it would take $100 million to move the plant, and said the project is a long-term goal. No money is budgeted this year for a move.