Recap of Crab-E-Bills Discussion at May 25th Sebastian City Council Regular Meeting

May 28th, 2022

City Manager Paul Carlisle opened up the discussion of Crab-E-Bills by enumerating the issues the city has found with the building in Fisherman’s Landing

  1. The concrete slab under the floor is being undermined

  2. The floor in the back of the building is buckling due to moisture

  3. The termite damage, especially in the beams in the back dining room. He said these repairs would cost $50,000.

Mayor Jim Hill clarified that the City Council has never discussed removing Crab-E-Bills from their building. He said that they have only discussed improving the building. He also proposed that the council accept the $50,000 repair budget, which was then seconded.

The first speaker from the public was Karen Jordan of Sebastian. She called for the rent paid by Crab-E-Bills to be cut due to loss of business caused by the building maintenance being done by the city.

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The second speaker from the public was Pete Sweeney, an attorney representing the lessee of the building in question. He highlighted the fact that the owner of Crab-E-Bills has been dealing with this issue of maintenance for over ten months and reminded the Council that initial analysis said the cost would be around one million dollars. Mr. Sweeney also stated that the owners have lost around $90,000 due to partial building closures.

Rick Lopez spoke next, explaining the importance of preserving historic buildings.

Beverley Hipkins was the next speaker who reiterated how much the community loves Crab-E-Bills and that the restaurant has lost money due to building closures.

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Mayor Jim Hill closed discussion on the topic by speaking on his personal affection for Crab-E-Bills and the Riverfront District as a whole and his commitment to supporting it. Council Member Christopher Nunn added that the Council has only good intentions in regards to this issue. Council Member Ed Dodd also explained that there are a few solutions, both short-term and long-term, that could be implemented. He noted that it is possible to go so far as tearing the building down and having it rebuilt exactly as it was. He said that the most important thing need in order to accomplish this is a good working relationship between the Council, the Tenants, and the Public.

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