Bull Creek Fish Camp Restaurant to Be Torn Down Due to Hurricane Damage

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Bull Creek Fish Camp Restaurant to Be Torn Down Due to Hurricane Damage

Chris Gollon

The restaurant at Bull Creek Fish Camp in western Flagler County will soon be torn down, the county government announced on Wednesday. The area was heavily affected by hurricanes Ian and Nicole, and the damage to the restaurant building was deemed too great to salvage.

Due to the storm surge from Ian and Nicole, the building reportedly sat in over a foot of water for more than a month’s time. Having been built in 1955, the county decided it was time to tear the restaurant down and construct a replacement.

A statement from the county said that due to the building’s age and wood frame and piles, it would not meet modern building codes if repaired as-is. Still, the restaurant’s current tenant Domenech Base, Inc. pushed to repair and reopen the facility out of their own pocket.

“The costs necessary to fully restore the structure to its before-damage condition exceeds 50% of the structure’s valuation (excluding the valuation of the land) before the damage occurred,” County Administrator Heidi Petito said last week in an email to the County Commission. “The basis for this determination includes, but is not limited to, structural, mechanical, and electrical damage.”

Additionally, the building was not covered for flood damage through its current insurance policy – the provider would not cover it due to its position just feet away from Dead Lake. No funds for repairs were available through FEMA or the Florida Division of Emergency Management either.

The host of damages found in a building inspection were, according to the county’s statement, “exterior high-water mark 3 feet above grade; could not verify ‘load path connection’ at the slab; walls and structural wood posts were black, some soft and deteriorated from water damage; uneven flooring; sagging overhead beams; filth from both flood waters and septic backup; wiring impossible to inspect; and a host of other problems”.

The price tag for the reconstructed restaurant building was tentatively set at $1.8 million. County Administrator Petito added that this figure could wind up higher due to the potential boring sample work to be done, as well as foundational construction. Domenech Base has been made aware that the county would not accommodate their desire to repair and reopen. They declined an offer by the county to host a food truck with a screened pavilion in the interim until a new restaurant can be opened.