Guest Column: Chuck Meide at LAMP

Help Preserve Florida’s Working Waterfronts

While we here at LAMP and the Lighthouse do not often advocate political issues, sometimes there are items on the ballot that are particularly important for historic preservation or maritime heritage.

We feel that the non-partisan Amendment 6 on the ballot this November is important towards saving traditional working waterfronts that have been such an important part of Florida’s maritime heritage from its earliest history, and we urge everyone to vote YES on Amendment 6.

In recent years dozens of Florida traditional marine businesses, wet-slip marinas, waterfront dry stack storage facilities and boat service yards have been squeezed out of business by huge increases in real estate taxes, leaving boaters with fewer places to keep their boats at reasonable slip fees and storage costs, forcing commercial fishermen and shrimpers to seek a new form of business, and forcing traditional marine companies–such as those that have formed the backbone of St. Augustine’s 20th century maritime industry–to sell their waterfront property to developers.

Why is this happening? Because the current property appraisal system in Florida forces counties to apply “highest and best use” value to waterfront business property, not current use value. That means the businesses boaters rely on, and that have been such an important part of our maritime community, are taxed as if they were high-end condominiums or waterfront resorts. You can help change that at the polls on November
4th:

A “Yes” vote on Amendment 6 will bring down the property taxes on the following marine working waterfronts to reflect the property’s current use:

Marinas and docks open to the public for water access and recreational uses;
Public vessel launches into navigable inland and coastal waterways;
Commercial fishing facilities;
Water-dependent marine manufacturing facilities;
Marine vessel construction and repair facilities.

Amendment 6 is supported by many Florida maritime heritage groups as well as national organizations such as BoatUS, and we hope you will too on Nov 4. We need your help to get the 60% voter approval required to pass this very important amendment.

For more information: www.saveourwaterfronts.com

Please feel free to share this with your boating and fishing friends, and anyone who cares about the unique maritime heritage of our nation’s oldest port.

And thank you for your support of Florida’s maritime heritage and traditional working waterfronts!

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