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Date of Issue: April 15, 2009

Field work: Committee meets on mooring plan

Members of the newly created Bradenton Beach Managed Anchorage and Mooring Field Committee reached their first consensus April 7.

The consensus was to focus on establishing a mooring field and not try encourage anchorage. It was an agreement that might result in the committee shortening its name.

“I’m OK with mooring field committee,” Lisa Marie Phillips, the city’s project/program manager and committee coordinator, said as the group discussed anchoring of boats in the area south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

The committee met at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N., where it will meet again at 4 p.m. April 21 and at 4 p.m. April 28.

The committee’s primary task is to help draft a recreational boating plan, which city officials hope to complete sometime in June.

The city received a state grant to hire a consulting firm, Scheda Ecological Associates, to work on the plan, which will cover the opening of a harbor master office, the creation of a mooring field and the siting of a kayak launch.

The group’s first meeting provided an opportunity to get to know one another and to learn about the work ahead.

Most of the committee members expressed a love for boating.

“I’ve been a sailor all my life,” Canfield said, recalling growing up on Long Island Sound and sharing his plans to restore a wooden sailboat to use as an on-the-water classroom.

Drescher, a former mayor of Bradenton Beach, said, “The last boat I had was a 45-foot houseboat and we lived on the Mississippi. We just loved it.”

Harrington, retired from a law enforcement career, said he spends many mornings drinking coffee near the Historic Bridge Street Pier, where he can watch boaters come in to shore.

Curd is a delivery captain. “I run boats from the Great Lakes to anywhere,” he said.

A longtime sailor who lives on a boat in the city’s mooring field area, Waldrope said he’s logged about 20,000 cruising miles.

Shearon, a former city commissioner and current member of the city planning and zoning board, said he lived on a motor yacht for six years.

“I’m very aware of boating — the fun of it and the responsibility that comes with it and I really look forward to getting our mooring field adopted so that its done the right way and the most economical,” he said.

Phillips welcomed the committee members.

“This project upon which you are embarking was actually conceived of 10 years ago,” she said and then she turned the session over to Dianne Rosensweig and Wendy Hershfeld of Scheda to discuss details of the plan and the process.

The mooring field will be established from the pier to Seventh Street South.

A current map shows 41 mooring spots in the field, but Phillips described the design as “pie in the sky” and acknowledged the number likely will be less.

The committee reviewed the problems necessitating the creation of a mooring field — improper anchoring of boats that can damage seagrass or property, improper disposal of sewage and the existence of abandoned or derelict vessels.

The committee also listed the objectives in creating a mooring field — protecting the environment, maintaining safety, promoting economic development, providing affordable housing, managing waste, supporting public access to the water and establishing a self-sustaining harbor operation.

The committee members left city hall with some homework — assignments to read the interim mooring field ordinance adopted in Bradenton Beach earlier this year, as well as to review boating plans for other communities, including Fort Myers Beach and St. Augustine.