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Date of Issue: December 17, 2008

City, owners settle marina dispute

The city of Anna Maria and Jack and Evelyn Fiske reached a settlement moments before the long-standing case was to be heard by the code enforcement board Dec. 11.

The two sides requested that board chairman Bill Iseman recess the code board hearing shortly after it began at 6 p.m. to allow them to settle their differences in conference. Board members agreed to the recess.

 Shortly before 7 p.m., city attorney Jim Dye said the parties had reached a settlement. The agreement still has to be approved by the code board, which will receive full details and the facts of the case at a Jan. 12 continuation of the hearing.

The city had contended that the Fiskes had expanded the marina use of the property beyond what was grandfathered by prior administrations. The Fiskes contended they had not expanded the use.

Dye presented a short summary of the settlement to the board, noting that both parties started negotiations “far apart,” but were eventually able to compromise on issues.

The agreement will limit the number of onshore storage boats and trailers to five, Dye said. A boat on a trailer counts as one storage unit. No more than five vehicles, other than those belonging to the Fiskes, will be allowed on the property at any time.

Dye said also that increased use of the property by commercial enterprises, such as boat charters and kayak rentals, would be limited by the agreement. Two enterprises, a charter boat and a kayak rental, that launch from the property, will not be permitted to return if either leaves for a year. No new commercial enterprises are allowed under the agreement.

The Fiskes are to retain their 12 wet slips to rent dock space to watercraft owners, but major maintenance of a boat, such as fiberglass repairs or repainting, will not be permitted under the agreement.

Dye agreed that the property has had “historic use as a marina” and that will be permitted to continue, but with no expansion.

“As long as the property stays within the boundary of the agreement, it will be deemed to be in compliance by the city,” he said.

Adjacent neighbors had complained that the marina use at the Fiske residence had increased during the closure of Galati Marine for a two-year renovation program.

Toby Kinerk, a neighbor who had brought the original complaint to the city, said he accepts the agreement.

He said the problems began after Galati closed its marina operation for remodeling. A number of operators at Galati then sought to use the Fiske property, resulting in an increase in activity there that was a detriment to the neighbors, according to the complaint.

Kinerk said he and Jack Fiske had been friends before the code complaint began in April and he hopes that can continue with the issues now resolved.

Board members agreed to continue the hearing to 6 p.m. Jan. 12, at which time a written agreement will be presented, including details of all current marina uses at the Fiske property.