New Year’s Eve fireworks at Harbourside Place — a longtime issue between the town and the owners of the $150 million waterfront entertainment complex — could get a thumbs up on Dec. 11.
Thumbs down was the response the last time Harbourside Place officials asked permission from the town for fireworks launched from the Intracoastal Waterway for July Fourth 2016.
Organizers had not met traffic, police and road-closing requirements, said town officials. Neighbors complained about noise and property damage from the last time fireworks were held, on July Fourth, 2015.
Those fireworks drew about 4,000 people and brought complaints of nearby residents. Burns on outdoor furniture and canvas tops on boats resulted. The fireworks company paid out about $2,500 in damages to a resident of Waters Edge Estates, a residential community located directly across the Intracoastal Waterway from Harbourside Place.
Changes have been made and the permit should be granted, said Nick Mastroianni, Harbourside’s developer.
This year’s fireworks would be launched from the top of the Harbourside Place north parking garage. The last fireworks were launched from a barge on the Intracoastal Waterway.
“We have a very calculated and strategic plan … so that there would be no impact on any surrounding properties … By our ordinance, we are the entertainment center of Jupiter and are required to hold events, concerts and town gatherings. Somehow the town has forgotten this,” Mastroianni said via text to The Palm Beach Post.
The Dec. 11 planning commission vote on a permit for the fireworks is final. No town council vote is required.
Mayor Todd Wodraska favors allowing the fireworks.
“People enjoy fireworks. (Harbourside Place) has taken precautions. I’m in favor of events that promote community enjoyment,” said Wodraska.
Fireworks were considered for last New Year’s Eve celebration at the nine-acre complex on the northwest corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1. Harbourside Place officials instead opted for confetti and streamers, along with the Times Square ball drop on a 16-foot-wide TV screen. The event was free and open to the public.
Harbourside Place representatives and town officials have argued over everything from constitutional rights to police protection to music volume since the waterfront entertainment center opened three years ago — with fireworks.
Meanwhile, the town and Harbourside Place officials are still waiting for a ruling by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra on the case over music volume Harbourside Place officials filed against the town.
The attorney for Harbourside Place argued Jupiter’s restrictions on outdoor music at the center’s amphitheater are unconstitutional restrictions on free speech.
Harbourside Place officials are simply looking to get around complying with the town regulations, countered the attorney representing Jupiter.
The music plays on as both sides await Marra’s ruling. A Kenny Chesney Tribute was Nov. 25. Sinatra Saturday is Dec. 9.
Harbourside Place has been controversial since it opened.
The “Top Ten Untruthful Statements published by Harbourside” was written by Jupiter Town Attorney Tom Baird. Mediation between the town and Harbourside failed.
How big is Harbourside Place?
- The five-story Wynham Grand hotel is about 30 feet shorter than the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. It’s 75 feet tall, half as high as the light poles at Roger Dean Stadium. Up against the double DNA helix twisting to the sky atop The Scripps Research Institute building on Donald Ross Road, the hotel would be half as high. It’s about 20 feet higher than the Abacoa Town Center.
- The two Wynham Grand hotels — connected by a glass-enclosed walkway — have 179 rooms. That’s 50 more than the Marriott Hotel in Abacoa, about 10 more than at the Jupiter Beach Resort on A1A and Indiantown Road and almost four times as many rooms as the Best Western Hotel just south of Harbourside on the Intracoastal Waterway.
- The two five-story parking garages have 841 spaces. That’s about the same size as the parking garage next to Roger Dean Stadium.
- The Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum was on the 9-acre Harbourside site. That’s the same property size as the Suni Sands mobile home park on A1A. The Barcelona development on Military Trail south of Town Hall is three times larger. DuBois Park is twice as big. Downtown at the Gardens is five times larger.
- The $150 million price tag to build Harbourside is twice Jupiter’s annual budget. Widening I-95 from two lanes to four from PGA Boulevard north to Indiantown Road was about half the price to build Harbourside.
- Harbourside has about 360,000 square feet of leasable commercial space. That’s about the same size as Jupiter High School, almost four times larger than the Home Depot on Indiantown Road. Almost seven football fields would fit inside Harbourside’s leaseable space.