Satellite Beach, FL - A group of concerned citizens in Brevard County are fighting to do everything they can to stop a major hotel and condominium project from threatening sea turtles.
One of the most outspoken members of the group, Matt Fleming, took The News Station for a walk through the dunes at High Tower Beach Park. All of it is state-protected because sea turtles nest in the area.
Across from the preservation lie the remains of the Satellite Shores Neighborhood, which was used for old military housing. Now a developer is planning to put a 222-room hotel here, along with condominiums. Fleming is concerned the people from those buildings will encroach on the turtle's turf. He fears the construction process will create problems too.
"It's completely out of keeping with the character of the town," Fleming said.
Mike Jaffe, a consultant with the developer, declined to be interviewed on camera but says the complex will be 100 feet away from A1A. Jaffe says it's important to remember the buildings won't be on the beach, they’ll be across the street. Jaffe says he hopes to start site work next year.
"What they’re trying to change by adding the hotel is something that needs to go to referendum to all the residents in the town according to the charter," Fleming said.
Fleming said this Saturday at noon he and dozens of environmental activists will gather at the beach to rally for the project to be stopped, but the developer has already cleared most hurdles with the Satellite Beach City Council.
One part of the project that is still up in the air though is a pedestrian bridge that would allow hotel guests to walk over A1A right onto the beach.
Fleming says that is like inviting people to walk on the nests -- the opposite messaging to a preserve.
"We know we don’t want a giant condo hotel complex in our town." Fleming said.