I have reported my concerns about GATE's noisy car wash to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Criminal investigators. Bald eagles live on Fish Island Preserve and are legally protected under two federal laws. It is a federal crime to "take" or "molest" a bald eagle. My 1/6/2023 report to USFWS states:
1. St. Augustine's idyllic Fish Island Preserve is historic legally-protected "Old Florida" government-owned land, home to legally-protected bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) who are protected by our Migratory Bird Treaty Act and our Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
2. Respondent GATE EXPRESS CAR WASH, 1430 Plantation Island Drive South, St. Augustine, Florida 32080 was planned and installed by Respondents, AFTER our historic Fish Island Preserve was founded and funded with Florida Forever tax funds.
3. Respondent GATE EXPRESS CAR WASH is controlled by Respondent GATE PETROLEUM and by Respondents HERBERT HILL PEYTON and JOHN STEPHENS PEYTON. Respondent GATE's CEO , Respondent JOHN STEPHENS PEYTON, is former two-term Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida.
4. Please investigate: are Respondents' noisy car wash operations an illegal "taking," and are Respondents "molesting" bald eagles, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act?
5. Please take frequent decibel readings, and question Respondents and their operation about the need to use best available noise control technology, as defined by MBTA, OSHA and industry standards.
6. Thanks to you, the Department of the Interior and USFWS for your fine work zealously protecting our protected bald eagles on this Fish Island property, leading to the criminal case of United States of America v. THOMPSON BROTHERS REALTY, Case No. 3:07-cr-00067-TEM (December 17, 2007 guilty plea), involving the illegal October 8, 2001 "taking" by intentionally cutting down a bald eagle nest tree (on orders of PIERRE THOMPSON, grandson of Henry Flagler's frontman, who founded the St. Augustine Record newspaper in 1894).
7. Respondents' car wash's excessive noise at Fish Island Preserve today appears to constitute another illegal "taking."
8. Respondents' excessive car wash noise disturbs our bald eagles and other protected wildlife. It distracts visitors to our City's new historic Fish Island Preserve, which was purchased with our Florida Forever funds. The excessive noise also disturbs the peaceful quiet enjoyment of our Fish Island Preserve and its cultural resources, including hundreds of slave graves, and the grave and remains of the former plantation of Jesse Fish, 1700s slave trader and founder of Florida's orange agriculture and export industry.
9. There appears to be no public benefit from Respondents' excessive noise disturbing our Fish Island Preserve and our bald eagles (our Nation's symbol), other wildlife, and cultural resources, including slave graves-- if there is, please send me the documentation from your investigation
10. What are the decibel levels?
11. Who measures the decibel levels, how often and how?
12. What are the best available noise control technologies for this carwash?
13. Please include all engineering assessments and code enforcement investigations and complaints in your investigation.
14. What is the source of the excessive noise?
With kindest regards, I am,
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084