A healthy, vibrant Hammock Beach Resort is in the best interest of the entire county. The resort is the main attraction in the Hammock Dunes development, which includes a handful of other high-end communities: Hammock Dunes, Island Estates, Yacht Harbor Village, Ocean Hammock, Cinnamon Beach and Hammock Beach. Most of those residents do not consume many county services; the properties comprise just 0.5% of the county’s landmass, and yet property owners contribute 13.5% of the total tax revenue, according to the Property Appraiser’s Office. In effect, the Hammock Beach area subsidizes services the rest of us enjoy.
The Club at Hammock Beach is a decade old now, and it is losing ground when compared with other top-notch resorts around the country. It should be expected that some investment would be necessary at some point to keep it healthy.
Fortunately, Salamander Hotels and Resorts believes in the resort and is pushing for $72 million of capital reinvestment. The company has plans — although there is no commitment in the current proposal — to hire a contractor to build a 198-room hotel in the next couple of years, provided the County Commission approves the plan.
Although residents would benefit from the project’s economic success (see Rebecca DeLorenzo’s editorial), many residents feel the increased density is bad for the area (read their letters here). But this new hotel will not infringe on public beach access. The new building will be wider, but not taller, than the existing lodge, which it will replace; therefore, the views from the neighboring condos shouldn’t be impacted much. The view from the beach will not be changed much. It is a scaled-down version of previous proposals that have been denied in years past, and it is a sensible proposal.
We encourage the County Commission to approve the request. It will open the door for Hammock Beach Resort to take a giant leap forward and ensure the vitality of Flagler County’s biggest asset.