property at the end of Ozello Trail

The owner of the old Pirate's Cove property near the Ozello boat ramp had plans for a condominium complex. The county will ask the late owner's heirs their asking price for the 3 acres.

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.”

jeff kinnard mug 0318

Citrus County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard.

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.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(10) comments

booevegeo

While I think this would be good to buy for the citizens of Citrus County, I cant help but think of why the BOCC didn't invest $70,000 in the pool in Beverly Hills and keep the pool open later in the evening and maybe put some solar heat in to keep it open longer during the season. They all have to go!!!!

sierra1

And once it is bought, don’t be surprised if the commissioners want to put up a gas station and convenience store. They already approve putting them up in unnecessary places, why not in the middle of nowhere?

Miuke Nelson

I don't think that's a realistic concern here although I agree that we have too many gas stations in bad places from a traffic flow perspective.

Crankyankee

How would this affect the effort to establish a waterfront park in Homosassa?

Miuke Nelson

I think that's a good question and why I don't think this will fly. As good of an idea as it may be, this commission has shown no interest in parks for the locals.

Gary Rankel

What a great idea. This property combined with the adjoining Ozello Community Park has the potential of becoming a major paddling and kayak fishing destination.

LWillis

The County already owns adjoining property, buy it and make a nice park with boat ramp. Name it Waddington Park or Rochelle Park. There was a School on that site named Rochelle School and all of the "Western Islands" families went to the school. Miss Ethel Puckett (Ethel Winn) taught there and lived with the Waddington family.

MichaelRicard

A good investment. The county should buy it.. period.

Ssabmud

This would be a wonderful investment for the county. A passive park there would certainly add a great deal to the tourism draw for the county.

JHen1

Please BOCC, strongly consider this proposal. The land will never be cheaper and is already begging to be a great access to water. The county could shape this property into something to be very proud of. It's beautiful for family outings, and improved boat access is a must. JUST DO IT@!

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