The deadline to oppose the removal of mangroves to build a home on San Carlos Island is fast approaching.
Several others already live in the waterfront neighborhood, but many of them don’t want to see the landscape change.
Lush mangroves line San Carlos Island along Hurricane Pass, but they could come down on at least one lot.
William Carli hopes they don’t. “We are fighting it, but we hope we can stop it, but we don’t know. We aren’t getting any feedback from anybody.”
Mangroves protect the shoreline from storms, help prevent erosion, and provide a habitat for wildlife, but for some, they also get in the way of development.
The person who owns the waterfront land wants to build a home and dock and has asked for a permit to remove the shrubs.
While he doesn’t want to talk, others have plenty to say.
Julie Campbell wants a public hearing to decide the fate of the plants. “This is an environmental habitat that is like no other,” said Campbell.
“I just drove home. Two birds were in the street. Where did they go? home to the mangroves,” said Carli.
Marine biologist Lauren Swaim says this is not only about the animals but people too. “It’s tourism. A lot of people that live here have jobs. They come here because it’s peaceful and quiet. Once you take all of that out, it will change the area.”
“I’ve owned this place forever. We like the mangroves, we like the fish. I rent this place out it’s like paradise out here, and he is gonna ruin it,” Carli said.
The Army Corps of Engineers will have to approve the permit for the project to move forward, but that could take a while.
Public comment closes at the end of the day Wednesday, and if neighbors get the hearing they’ve requested, that could cause future delays for the building project.