“Local resident’s controversy on floating structure in St. Johns County waters”

“Local resident’s controversy on floating structure in St. Johns County waters”

Photo: CBS 47 Action News Jax

“…St. John’s County Commissioners discussed an ordinance that would prohibit floating structures.

Jeffrey Thomas is the owner of Hurricane Watersports on the Matanzas inlet.

Some of the water rentals he provides to visitors are paddle boards, kayaks, water trampolines and platforms.

A county commissioner said people in the area don’t like the look of this.

‘Several residents referred to it as a real eye-sore in what is probably one of the most beautiful inlets in the state of Florida,’ said St. John’s County Commissioner, Henry Dean.

According to Florida law, a floating structure can be defined as a floating entity that is not primarily used as a means of transportation on the water but serves purposes or provides services.

Commissioner Dean said several residents have complained about parties taking place on the structure in the Matanzas Inlet.

‘I think we have an obligation to keep it relatively pristine and relatively quiet so people can enjoy the sunset, enjoy swimming and enjoy the recreational activities without these wild parties going on,’ said Commissioner Dean.

Thomas told Action News Jax he had one live music festival but does not sell alcohol, and he uses this mainly for his rental business. He said it’s common in other places…

If the ordinance is passed, St. Johns County would be able to ban anything that’s considered a floating structure.

There will be a second reading for the ordinance in early August.”

— Alexus Cleavenger, CBS 47 Action News Jax

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Jacksonville: “Long awaited regulations arrive for waterways”

Jacksonville: “Long awaited regulations arrive for waterways”

Photo: FWC in Resident News

” …The City of Jacksonville is on the cusp of limiting long-term anchoring in the city’s waterways, and the highly-trafficked Ortega River in particular, to 45 days.

It didn’t take an act of Congress, just the Florida Legislature, and cooperation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that controls the state’s waterways, plus a local push from Jacksonville City Councilwoman Randy DeFoor and the city’s Waterways Commission.

Derelict vessels and the troubles they bring to the Ortega River and the larger St. Johns River are not new but they’ve become more common in recent years, residents say.

They damage other boats and docks in storms, serve as low rent housing and appear as eyesores against otherwise scenic vistas. But the river blight has united the many parties in cooperation of a common goal: improving traffic conditions for boaters, many of whom live and/or play on the river.

Councilwoman DeFoor put it like this for landlubbers; imagine an old car in disrepair. It may still run but it’s not your weekend piddle project. It’s just parked in front of your house. For months on end. And you can’t do anything to move it.

That will soon change for derelict boats, however.

Two new city ordinances moving toward approval should improve traffic on the river. One measure will remove a nuisance vessel from the Ortega River via a state grant program funded from a portion of boater registration fees. The cost is $30,000.

Another ordinance crafted by Councilwoman DeFoor will prohibit vessels from serving as long-term housing by capping anchoring periods in the high traffic parts of the St. Johns River, like the Ortega River, to 45 days.

‘Neighbors who live along the Ortega River brought this issue to my attention when I was running for office,’ explained Councilwoman DeFoor by email. ‘I’ve been a boater my whole life and I understand the joy and responsibilities of owning a boat. Lisa Grubba, Mike Barker, and other neighbors shared their concerns with me and because the waterways are controlled by the state we brought Representative Wyman Duggan in on the conversations…

‘We can’t let the Ortega River fill up like a junkyard,’ added Mr. Barker.”

— Joel Addington, Resident Community News

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Legal: “Palm Beach County moves to expand ban on floating structures anchoring in county waters”

Legal: “Palm Beach County moves to expand ban on floating structures anchoring in county waters”

Photo: Allen Eyestone, Palm Beach Post

“…Palm Beach County is one step closer to expanding a local law that bans floating structures from anchoring in county waters, with some exceptions.

If passed, an update to the Cindy DeFilippo Floating Structure Ordinance will apply to floating structures anchoring or mooring in all waters within the county, including those under the jurisdiction of a city or town.

County commissioners will take a final vote on June 15.

A floating structure isn’t a boat or other watercraft, which the state defines as a ‘vessel’ and requires registration.

Rather, it is a ‘floating entity … not primarily used as a means of transportation on water but which serves purposes typically associated with a structure or other improvement to real property,’ according to the state. These can include functions such as a residence, restaurant or clubhouse. ”

— Hannah Morse, Palm Beach Post

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Floating Billboards: Volusia County’s 47 miles of seashore at risk

Floating Billboards: Volusia County’s 47 miles of seashore at risk

Photo: David Tucker, St. Augustine Record

“No tacky displays”

“‘Unbelievable’ or ‘You’ve got to be kidding’ – These are the only phrases which come to mind when reading [the St. Augustine Record] March 19 article about the Volusia County Council approving the use of floating billboards along Volusia County’s invaluable 47 miles of Atlantic seashore! Other adjectives such as ugly and tacky also come to mind. As mentioned in the article, once this Pandora’s Box is opened there will be no basis for refusing other requests, leading to a parade of these monstrosities cluttering up our otherwise pristine views of the Atlantic Ocean, where we should be looking at dolphins, right whales and swimmers, not tacky advertising. Maybe as a crowning achievement one of these barge/billboards trafficking up and down the beach could strike one of our endangered Right Whale population…

There seems to be no benefit to Volusia taxpayers and voting constituents, only to the promoters of the concept and a handful of businesses who might advertise on the billboard. I suspect that County Council members will find out at the next election what the broader views of their constituents are on the subject. ”

— Richard Schook, Letter to the editor, St. Augustine Record

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Floating Billboards: “Firm warns boaters of live-fire exercise in Gulf”

Floating Billboards: “Firm warns boaters of live-fire exercise in Gulf”

Photo: Splashboard Media as seen in FHN
“A billboard mounted on the back of a boat makes frequent appearances along local coastlines and at Crab Island in the summer.

But Splashboard Media’s 110-foot boat, complete with large, lighted billboard, was put to use last week to keep boaters away from a live-fire military exercise in the Gulf of Mexico.

The blue boat and its sign were visible to motorists crossing the Marler Bridge in Destin on Thursday. It was anchored near the base of the west jetty.

‘This is our third year of working with the Air Force or the Air Force contractors providing mission support,’ said Chris Kopecky, one of the company’s owners…

Their business does everything from notifying boaters of closures to sharing flag conditions with beachgoers and showing movies at Crab Island.

The sign is 20 by 30 feet and is mounted on the large blue boat operated by a Coast Guard-certified 100-ton captain.”

— Wendy Victora, NWFdailynews.com
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New Location: “Floating billboard makes waves in Destin”

New Location: “Floating billboard makes waves in Destin”

Photo: Michael Snyder, NWF Daily News

DESTIN — A Destin City Councilman says a local advertiser has gone too far with its large LED billboard on the back of a boat he spotted at Crab Island over the weekend.

Parker Destin shared photos and a status on social media Sunday that showed a large boat with a 20 foot-by 30 foot, two-sided LED electronic billboard advertising various businesses. The boat was driving past Crab Island on Sunday.

‘I understand everybody needs to reach an audience, but good grief,’ Destin said. ‘That was a pretty garish and invasive way to do that.’

The councilman said he has fielded calls from Destin residents concerned about the billboard. The city does not have jurisdiction over Crab Island since it is legally state land, Destin said, but he is still worried about the implications of the floating billboard for the city’s image overall.

‘The billboard is probably the most in in-your-face manifestation of what’s occurring (on Crab Island),’ he said. ‘It’s the over-commercialization of our natural resources, which is troubling because they need to be as natural as they can be in order to entice people to come and visit and to entice people to come and reside here’…”

–Annie Blanks, NWF Daily News

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