Dumas anchoring case: A timeline

In the case of a Marco boater who defied the city’s anchoring ordinance, the City of Marco Island will have to defend itself before it can prosecute.

Attorneys for both sides appear in court Friday before District Judge Rob Crown to argue over the defense’s motion to dismiss the case as unconstitutional.

Friday’s appearance will be the culmination of an arrest that occurred months ago, when Dave Dumas dropped anchor in Smokehouse Bay and stayed until he was charged with a criminal misdemeanor.

Friday, the defense is expected to scrutinize the ordinance against a state statute, whose vague language goes against the city’s law, according to some.

Below is a run-down of the ongoing saga of the Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance, and one resident’s pointed defiance of it.

May 2, 2005: For the first time, Marco Island City Council considers an ordinance regulating length of stay for visiting boaters.

Aug. 6, 2005: Marco Waterways Organization holds inaugural meeting, intent on opposing a possible ordinance that would allow visiting boaters to drop anchor for 15 days.

Sept. 28, 2005: Marco Island Waterways Advisory Committee holds hearing to discuss proposed 15-day ordinance.

Feb. 6, 2006: City Council decides to table discussion of anchoring ordinance.

May 1, 2006: Marco Island City Council passes ordinance 06-05, also known as the Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance, restricting boaters to three days of dropped anchor at a distance of 300 feet from shore.

July 1, 2006: Chapter 327, the “Vessel Safety Law,” goes into effect, restricting municipal governments’ ability to regulate non-live-aboard boats “in navigation.” The statute was adopted by the Florida Legislature in June of 2006.

Jan. 16: Dave Dumas drops anchor in Smokehouse Bay in an intentional act of defiance of the city’s anchoring ordinance.

Jan. 18: After receiving warnings both verbal and written, he is cited with violating the ordinance and issued a notice to appear in court.

Feb. 15: Dumas makes his first appearance in court, and the court sets a trial date of March 23.

March 23: Discovery documents are delivered to the defense by state attorneys the morning of a hearing, three weeks later than expected. Collier County District Judge Rob Crown grants a delay for attorneys on both sides of the case, sets a pretrial conference for April 18. Defense attorney Donald Day files a motion to dismiss the case as unconstitutional.

April 9: Herman Diebler, an active boater and Dumas supporter, is removed from the Waterways Advisory Committee by a City Council vote of 5-2.

July 6: Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano notified the city that it never signed an interlocal agreement with the State Attorney’s office to reimburse it for legal fees. The revelation came to light just four days before both sides were due in court on the defense’s motion to dismiss the case. Motion is re-scheduled for Aug. 14.

Aug. 14: Scheduled hearing ends with Judge Rob Crown reprimanding the prosecution for being unprepared to discuss the defense’s motion to dismiss.

Sept. 4: City Council holds first of two shade meetings to discuss case with city attorneys.

Sept. 17: Council places item on regular agenda to invite community input on whether to proceed with the case in light of the city’s tight Fiscal Year 2008 budget.

Sept. 25: After its second closed-door session with attorney Dan Abbott, City Council announces intent to go forward with prosecution of Dumas.

Oct. 3: Both parties participate in status check for Friday’s hearing.

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