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Bird Key Yacht Club preps for upgrades

A new pickleball court and expanded dining area will help accommodate the club’s growing membership.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. July 13, 2017
Bird Key Yacht Club is adding outdoor courts for pickleball, a fast-growing paddle sport.
Bird Key Yacht Club is adding outdoor courts for pickleball, a fast-growing paddle sport.
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Bird Key Yacht Club just finished a $2.6 million renovation of its marina last fall, but the club isn’t finished making improvements.

In June and July, representatives for the yacht club filed plans with the city for two more projects on the premises. One would add a pickleball court and enhanced landscaping, and the other would expand the club’s outdoor dining deck.

The club originally filed plans for the pickleball courts last October. Those courts, six in total, would replace 18 parking spots in a lot on the property. The club would be left with 133 parking spaces if the city approves the plan.

Adding space for pickleball, a paddle sport frequently touted as the fastest-growing sport in America, is designed to provide another amenity for people who use the yacht club.

“One, we really wanted to upgrade the landscaping and the waterfront,” said Brian McCarthy, the owner’s representative for both projects. “We felt the area could be better utilized for something for the benefit of our members.”

The yacht club must obtain a major conditional use permit to replace the parking spaces with the pickleball courts. McCarthy said the club has already worked with nearby residents to assure them the project won’t cause any problems. The club even held a pickleball demonstration to address concerns about the noise the courts would generate.

“Nothing like getting out and hearing it to convince people it is a relatively quiet sport,” he said.

City staff said there is no date set for the community workshop, but the intent is to hold it in early August.

The club is also asking the city for a variance to the code that would permit a 550-square-foot expansion of a patio and dining area along the water. City regulations mandate a 30-foot setback from the waterfront; the proposed expansion would be just less than 10 feet from the water.

McCarthy said the plan to expand the dining area is a response to increased interest in the club, particularly after the marina project was completed last year.

“Everyone’s extremely happy with it and excited,” McCarthy said. “It’s just turned out to be phenomenal.”


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