Emerald Lake is Safe

Emerald Lake is a beautiful body of water situated just off of NE 16 Avenue and NE 131 Street.  It’s home to amazing aquatic wildlife and fish. The lake creates a soothing ambiance for adjoining residents and has been a point of neighborhood pride for decades.
In recent years, some neighbors have grown concerned that the lake might be filled and developed.  A section of the center of the lake is owned by a new purchaser who bought the rights to it approximately three years ago.  But there are no pending requests by that new owner to do anything with the lake.
For argument’s sake, however, I asked our city attorney and other staff to examine whether they think filling the lake is possible.
Our city attorney notes several reasons why fill and construction at this site are amazingly difficult. First, the lake is not zoned for anything to be built on it. Second, to change the zoning on that property alone would be spot zoning so it couldn’t be done. Third, and most importantly our attorney looked at what it would take for someone to fill in a lake in Florida. It would require permission from Federal, State and County environmental authorities including the Army Corps of Engineers. Those authorities would include the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) Water Control Section and Environmental Permit Section (ERS). Our city attorney’s opinion is that it would be exceedingly difficult to do all that.
In addition to these major hurdles, each resident along the lake owns approximately twenty feet into the waterway.  They would then control any access to the center of the lake from their properties.  Any type of envisioned development would likely need their individual consents and likely compensation.
It’s safe to say that Emerald Lake and its aquatic beauty remain safe.  There have been no requests from developers to fill the area, much of it is privately owned, zoning doesn’t allow it, and government protections are steadfast.