- Bill DiPaolo Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
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.