The Longboat Key Town Commission docked a boat parking ordinance residents, subcommittee members and the Planning and Zoning Board have debated since the beginning of the summer.
At its Nov. 13 regular workshop, commissioners decided not to recommend a revised ordinance that would prohibit boat owners from anchoring their vessels on front lawns.
The ordinance, though, hasn’t totally sunk.
The commission agreed to a small portion of modifications to its boat-and-trailer parking ordinance, agreeing only to changes that restrict storage pod parking.
The commission decided against making boat-parking changes until an Urban Land Institute subcommittee that was formed Monday can review the issue and make further recommendations.
Longbeach Village residents have opposed the town-wide ordinance, saying that a ban on boat-and-trailer parking in a historic boating community in which many lots don’t have waterfront access is unfair.
The commission wrestled with whether to craft a Key-wide boat-parking ordinance, even though planning staff and the town attorney has suggested a Key-wide ordinance is easier to enforce and doesn’t cause legal ramifications.
“Why must every community be treated the same way?” asked Vice Mayor David Brenner.
Other commissioners also had issues with the ordinance.
“My concern is we are creating a new problem,” said Commissioner Lynn Larson.
And Commissioner Terry Gans suggested the ordinance might not be needed.
“The Village has no complaints with boats sitting in yards,” Gans said. “Is this overkill?”
The ordinance as presented mandated 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.
The ordinance as presented stated 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.
The changes as proposed allow the parking of boats and boat trailers in a carport, garage or any other building.
Residents of Country Club Shores and Longbeach Village disagree with 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.
Country Club Shores resident and former Commissioner Randall Clair also suggested the commission consider overlay districts for communities that could make restrictions without creating a town-wide ordinance.
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