The Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board agreed Tuesday to recommend a revised ordinance that will soon prohibit boat owners from anchoring their vessels on front lawns.
The planning board agreed with a boat and trailer subcommittee’s recommendation that mandates boats be placed in side or backyards, along with certain conditions.
Currently, you can park a boat or a trailer in an open space outside a Key home as long as it’s in a designated parking space. But what constitutes a parking space isn’t clarified in the code, and trailers and/or boats can sit in a front lawn legally. The code also doesn’t mandate how many boats or trailers can be parked on a resident’s property.
Residents of Country Club Shores and Longbeach Village disagree about the issue of boat trailer parking enforcement. Country Club Shores residents, who let their deeds and covenant restrictions lapse years ago, want the town to ban trailers and boats from being parked in their driveways, while Longbeach Village residents say a ban on boat-and trailer-parking in a historic boating community where many lots don’t have water access is unfair.
“It would be nice to exclude the Village from this, purely from a selfish standpoint,” said Longbeach Village Association President Michael Drake.
At the urging of Planning, Zoning and Building Director Robin Meyer and town attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale, though, changes that affect the whole Key were crafted
“The idea of communities reinstating their covenants and deed restrictions is a solution that makes some sense,” said planning board member Leonard Garner. “But, now, we have an ordinance to fall back on in the meantime.”
The ordinance states that those with corner lots can’t park their boats and trailers on side yards that also have access to the street.
Boats and trailers parked in side yards must also be screened so they are not as visible from the road.
Planning board member George Symanski Jr. suggested the town allow boats in front yards if they are screened by a fence, but his suggestion didn’t receive enough support.
“I have grave concern that would create more issues than solve any problems,” Meyer said. “A 6-foot fence going around a boat in a front yard is not something I’m so sure neighbors would want to see also.”
Commissioner and subcommittee member Pat Zunz urged the planning board to consider recommending the town open up town-owned alleys in the Village that boat owners who don’t have a lot of land to park their boats could use.
Several Village property owners don’t have access to town-owned alleys that haven’t been accessible by car for years. Town Manager Dave Bullock is investigating the matter.
“The town needs to reclaim the alleys,” Zunz said.
The commission will now review the recommendation at an upcoming workshop. Ultimately, the commission will decide whether to approve the changes.