Harbor ordinance ready for public hearing

Today, the City of St. Augustine announced to local Historic City News reporters that the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the city’s proposed harbor ordinance, with only one minor change, clearing the way for consideration by the City Commission at its December 12 meeting.

St. Augustine was selected as one of five municipalities the Fish and Wildlife Commission reached out to the state’s hundreds of waterfront municipalities and invited them to apply to be one of only five selected to participate in pilot programs to help determine the needs of communities with active harbors.

If the City’s proposed harbor ordinance is enacted by the City Commission, it will be in force until July 2014 when the Legislature would review the programs and identify what might be considered for statewide adoption.

The ordinance introduces several elements to the city’s regulation of its harbor, including:
1. designates how close to a marine structure, such as a dock, a vessel may anchor
2. restricts areas in Salt Run where one may anchor in order to protect the area’s shellfish beds
3. designates how close to a mooring field a vessel may anchor
4. restricts areas ensuring the channel of the San Sebastian River remains free of anchored vessels
5. requires that a vessel anchored outside a mooring field be able to get underway using its own propulsion
6. specifies the length of time an occupied vessel may be anchored inside the city but outside a mooring field
The only change made by the Fish and Wildlife Commission was to change the period of time that an occupied vessel can anchor outside a mooring field to 30 consecutive days in any 45 consecutive-day period.

Ordinance 2011-10, the one reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, was approved on first reading by the City Commission in July.

The ordinance, incorporating the Fish and Wildlife Commission change, is expected to be adopted at the Commission’s next meeting on December 12th.

If passed, the ordinance will go into effect 10 days later.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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