Monday, September 22, 2008

Buck Lee's Beach Fantasy

Amanda: In what way is she peculiar - may I ask?
Tom: She lives in a world of her own - a world of little glass ornaments. She plays old phonograph records - and that's about all.


-- Tennessee Williams, The Glass Managerie
Wednesday, the Santa Rosa Island Authority board will formally review a set of drawings by architect Carter Quina that, according to Jamie Page in today's News Journal, "show what potentially could be done to improve the most popular portion of the beach." Tellingly, there is no beach in Quina's beach drawings.

The SRIA presumably paid good money for these fantasies. Page tells us it plans to spend even more for grotesque art, as the genre is sometimes known:
Quina's initial drawings were created only to give the board a starting point for eventually putting out a request for proposals for conceptual drawings... .
Quina may have drawn the latest fantasy, but he has merely given two dimensional form to Buck Lee's wet dream. Lee is the SRIA's executive director who, against all evidence that meets the eye, has been insisting that huge parking ramps are needed throughout the commercial core of the beach.

Just like Amanda's crippled daughter in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Managerie, Buck Lee lives in a make-believe world of little "ornaments" that bear no relationship to the reality of current or future needs of Pensacola Beach. Also, as with Williams' pathetic, lame Laura, Buck Lee seems to busy himself mostly by replaying the same old music about walling off the beach with unsightly tall buildings, exactly as earlier studies proposed and the people rejected -- as we mentioned most recently here when we recalled:
That same incubus of cheap but destructive development ideas crawled out again a little more than a decade ago when the Island Authority contracted for an architect's plan to build a 3-story shopping mall right where Casino Beach sits today. Public outrage at the scheme to wall off Casino Beach from easy public view was so strong that even the Escambia County commissioners felt compelled to reject it. Indeed, they passed a resolution forbidding future commercial development of Casino Beach.
Residents who live on the beach struck a deal more than a decade ago when the Island Authority adopted building height restrictions throughout much of Pensacola Beach but none in the commercial core. The deal was: we won't object to anything you do with the commercial core if you stick to your word on zoning and height restrictions for residential neighborhoods.

What that means, as a practical matter, is that no beach residents' group is likely to take a stand against Lee's fantasies. It's up to the rest of the world -- Pensacola mainlanders, Escambia County taxpayers, out of town tourists, and Pensacola Beach business interests -- to weigh in with Santa Rosa Island Authority board members if they don't want to see the central core of the beach paved over and walled off.

Candidly, we would expect only email messages to board member Thomas Campanella and Tammy Bohanon to survive the political filters. But you can try to reach the rest of the board here, too.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

HOW DOES HE GET AROUND COUNTY ORD#2000-35 PUBLIC FACILITIES CRITERIA WHICH PROHIBITS NEW PUBLIC FACILITIES IN A COASTAL HIGH HAZARD AREA UNLESS CERTAIN CRITERIA ARE MET. MAINLY, EXCEEDING THE LEVEL OF SERVICE REQUIREMENT.

Jack said...

Now Anonymous, you know somebody wants to build a parking garage.

All the other stuff will disappear.

See Pensacola's dreamscape plan for main street for additional details.

Final rendering- everything pretty for the public disappears