By Erika Webb
Members of the Lake Beresford Yacht Club are looking forward to having a permanent meeting and eating place again.
The club will break ground at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, to start construction on a new clubhouse, which is expected to be completed by fall.
The original clubhouse, built in 1947, was damaged by a tornado in February 2007 and destroyed by an accidental fire on Aug. 1, 2007. Since then the Yacht Club's 165 members did without a clubhouse or kitchen, then made do with a temporary trailer complex. The trailer complex has been removed and a poolside tiki bar is where guests are served breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We're really looking forward to getting back inside a building," Lake Beresford Yacht Club Commodore Stuart Mills said.
In 2009, Lake Beresford Yacht Co. Inc., which owns the not-for-profit yacht club, obtained a special exception from the Volusia County Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission for new off-street parking to support the clubhouse.
The 21.5-acre parcel at 1961 Hontoon Road was zoned commercial, transitional agriculture and resource corridor. Yacht Club requested the special exception for 1.3 acres of the transitional agriculture section.
Commodore Mills said when estimates for the project were higher and logistics more complicated than expected, the original plan was scaled back. The parking lot will remain in place.
"Originally, we were looking at building on the water," Commodore Mills said. "The clubhouse would have been where our parking lot is now. It would have involved being in the wetlands."
He said the organization looked into wetland mitigation -- obtaining a permit that grants authority to impact wetlands on the condition the applicant offsets those impacts with wetlands creation, enhancement or preservation.
"When everything was done, it became out of our price range," Commodore Mills said. "(The project) was scaled back and located farther from the water so we didn't have to intrude on the wetlands."
B.A. West Corp. will build the facility.
The new clubhouse will be about 5,300 square feet and will feature a formal dining room and informal bar/eating area.
"We'll be able to have several hundred people at one time, so outside organizations can come for parties and we'll have weddings," Commodore Mills said.
A committee, including an architect and four club members with design experience, will oversee the décor.
"We're not going to let the men pick the colors," the commodore joked.
He said colors will be "graceful" and accents will include a variety of memorabilia.
"We'll use different things we've collected that weren't burned, like a sailfish mounted on the wall and some Burgees, flags," he said.
A Burgee is used as an identification flag, especially by yachts.
But Commodore Mills said, the group doesn't plan to go ... well ... overboard with the nautical theme.
The Lake Beresford Yacht Club obtained its charter in November 1944 as a non-profit corporation. The club site, purchased in April 1945, has 825 feet of frontage on Lake Beresford, part of the St. Johns River system. In 1946, a dock and roadway were built to connect with the county road. By the end of the year, membership had reached 100. Early in 1947, a picnic shelter was erected and a well drilled. Construction of the clubhouse and boathouses was begun in June and completed in December of the same year.