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Date of Issue: May 06, 2009

Mooring committee follows St. Augustine plan

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Bradenton Beach is working on a plan to establish an official mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

A Bradenton Beach advisory committee is following a charted path as it develops a mooring plan for the city.

Instead of writing a new plan from blank pages, the committee, meeting at city hall April 28, began adapting St. Augustine’s mooring field plan to suit Bradenton Beach’s needs.

This week the committee was scheduled to meet again to focus on emergency management and enforcement issues in the plan with Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale and Lt. John Cosby.

That meeting was to be the committee’s last until consultants on the project provide a draft mooring plan, according to city project/program manager Lisa Marie Phillips.

During the session last week, the committee reviewed more than half of the St. Augustine plan, making edits to the document to make it apply to Bradenton Beach’s mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

The discussion focused on rules and regulations for the mooring field, but was wide-ranging.

The committee reached consensus on a number of points, including:

  • The harbormaster’s address will be used by longtime mooring residents to secure a post office box.
  • New arrivals to the field must register with the harbormaster within a reasonable time period.
  • Rentals of mooring sites will be available on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
  • Boaters must have liability insurance, although a dollar figure was not set.

Committee members did not reach a consensus on whether commercial operations should be allowed in the mooring field and whether renters can sublet their boats.

“I have a boat,” said committee member Jaime Canfield. “I want it on that mooring field. I want an educational classroom. I want to run eco-tours, historical tours. I don’t want to live on it. It’s commercial.”

Other committee members currently using the mooring field sided with Canfield, but others objected to commercial operations in the city harbor.

“I think you are opening a real can of worms,” said committee member Bill Shearon. “To me it is not a place to do business.”

“If you have a business out there, you need parking,” said committee member Connie Drescher. “It will affect the city’s insurance. It will affect parking. The city is going to lose control if we are operating businesses out there.”

The discussion was expected to resume this week, with the committee meeting at 3 p.m. May 5, after The Islander’s deadline.

Once the mooring committee completes its recommendations, Scheda Ecological Associates, the city’s consultant on the project, will write the draft mooring plan, which the committee will review, followed by the city commission, the city attorney and the state.

Phillips said she hoped the city commission would review the plan at its June 18 meeting.

“We’re going to work hard and we’re going to pound this out,” she said.