It’s been a source of contention and concern for the residents of Ozello since 2014, when George Decker first made known his plans for a resort condominium at the old Pirate’s Cove property.
Residents organized and fought not once, but twice, against a project they were convinced would bring unwanted traffic and other headaches to the twisty, turning roadway that empties into the St. Martin’s Marsh and Aquatic Preserve.
County commissioners rejected the plan once and the second plan never came to fruition.
Now the property owner has died and his heirs are asking county commissioners if they’re interested in buying it.
Commission Chairman Jeff Kinnard, for one, is.
“At the right price, the county should be interested,” Kinnard said. “It’s a beautiful spot at the end of Ozello for a passive park.”
Kinnard will ask fellow commissioners during Tuesday’s board meeting for support in directing the staff to explore the matter further.
“It’s worth a look,” he said.
The 3-acre property is next to the county boat ramp on Pirate Point and Sanddollar Lane, where Ozello Trail comes to an end 10 miles west of U.S. 19.
It’s the site of Pirate’s Cove, a restaurant/motel destroyed in the 1993 “no name” storm. A dilapidated shell stood, fenced in with no-trespassing signs, until it was torn down in 2010.
Twice, owner George Decker proposed plans to build a condominium resort on the property. County commissioners in 2015 unanimously defeated plans for a 70-unit plan, saying it was incompatible with the community.
He returned in 2017 with scaled-down plans and Ozello residents organized to provide vocal opposition. The plans, however, never made it to the stage for formal county review.
Decker, of Blaine, Tennessee, died on April 28, according to his obituary.
Decker bought the property in 2004 for $464,000, property records show. The property appraiser lists its value at $260,000, Kinnard said, but the county doesn’t have an asking price from Decker’s heirs, who wanted to know by July 23 if the county was interested in negotiating.
Tuesday's board meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the county courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness.