VIDEO/POLL: Marco’s anchoring ordinance drifting away?

Two-year, $60,000 court battle may be for nought as state legislation moves forward to void local anchoring ordinances

David Dumas anchored his vessel Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Jan. 17 within 300 feet of the Esplanade. He was cited by a Marco Island Police Department marine officer the next day for violating the city's controversial Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance.

Photo by Ed Bania, Eagle staff // Buy this photo

David Dumas anchored his vessel Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Jan. 17 within 300 feet of the Esplanade. He was cited by a Marco Island Police Department marine officer the next day for violating the city's controversial Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance.

Should cities, such as Marco, pursue anchoring ordinances?

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David Dumas anchored his vessel Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Jan. 17 within 300 feet of the Esplanade. He was cited by a Marco Island Police Department marine officer the next day for violating the city's controversial Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance.

Photo by Ed Bania, Eagle staff // Buy this photo

David Dumas anchored his vessel Kinship in Smokehouse Bay on Jan. 17 within 300 feet of the Esplanade. He was cited by a Marco Island Police Department marine officer the next day for violating the city's controversial Waterways and Boating Safety Ordinance.

Studio 55: Studio 55: Tuesday, October 30th, 2007 - Inside the Story

Liam Dillon's interview with Marco Island boater ...

Dave Dumas on Marco anchoring ordinance

Dave Dumas on anchoring rights

— Marco’s anchoring case is drifting away despite attempts to hold on to a city ordinance, which some boaters’ rights advocates say is unconstitutional.

Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Crist’s signature was expected on house bill 1423, which may void the ordinance that the city has been spending more than two years and about $60,000 in legal fees to enforce in court.

Defense attorney Donald Day of Naples-firm Berry, Day & McFee, is representing the Marco boater Dave Dumas, who intentionally challenged the city’s ordinance in 2007. Day said he doesn’t understand the city’s decision to spend money on this case during an economic recession.

“The new law will make all local ordinances obsolete. Therefore, any outcome of our current litigation is of no use. This is what I suggested to the city at the onset of our case. We all knew the state was coming with this. That is why I cannot understand spending tax dollars to fight on an issue that is dead.”

The bill which is titled “An act relating to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission” deals with several waterway issues including the definition of live aboard vessels and the establishment of anchorages and mooring fields.

The overall legislation takes effect July 1, 2009, however certain portions do not go into effect until October 2009.

All existing ordinances that limit anchoring that do not qualify as live-aboard by the new legislation are to become null and void.

Marco Island’s attempts to restrict boat anchoring have run aground more than once, but are slowly dragging on again.

In January, the local appellate court had dismissed the city’s appeal of a Collier County Court ruling that declared the city ordinance restricting anchoring in its waterways unconstitutional.

The dismissal was on procedural grounds. A three-judge panel ruled the city did not file its appeal on time.

City Attorney Alan Gabriel, of the Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Weiss Serota, fought that ruling and recently won the battle by having the appeal reinstated on May 22.

City Council Vice Chairman Frank Recker said the council chose to pursue the appeal hoping that the court would provide more guidance on the issue.

“ ... And we only chose to do so after being assured that our legal expenses would be nominal for the appellate process.”

Recker said if there has been a waste of money, it may have occurred on the state level.

“If the legislature had acted sooner and clearly specified sole jurisdiction in this area it might have saved everyone a lot of time and money. This entire issue could likely have been avoided with the proper parties talking to other reasonable folks. At least we can see an end in sight.”

Dumas was cited in January 2007 for violating an ordinance which restricts mooring in certain areas. Dumas said he admittedly and purposefully moored a 42-foot motor yacht, the Kin Ship, for 12 hours within 300 feet of a seawall near the Esplanade, in the hopes of having the city ordinance ruled as unconstitutional. Dumas has said he hoped it would set a precedence against all similar ordinances enacted by cities and counties.

Marco resident Don Dilks, an Island boater and member of the city’s waterways committee, said he is pleased with the new state legislation. “Any legislation to make anchoring more consistent throughout the state is welcomed by me.”

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 8

maharg writes:

We should not forget that Marco's anchoring ordinance was strongly rejected by a Collier Count Court on the basis of the OLD state statute, let alone the new one. Marco never asked for an opinion from the Florida Attorney Generals office or from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for an opinion on the legality of the ordinance despite many protestations that it was illegal. Marco and it's officials were arrogant and incompetent!

happy6 writes:

arrogant and incompetent?ask wayne/arceri.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Bully Millionaires trying to push people around.....what else is new.
Oh thats rights, it MillionareCo Island.

smiley writes:

OldMarcoMan, if you live on the water, give us your address. Me and some of my rowdy friends want to come over, anchor off your seawall and PARTY. After a few days and nights of loud noise, floating trash, tp, and turds, you'll be begging for an anchoring ordinance.

OldMarcoMan writes:

You and your rich Boater Buddy's/Bully's already do.
Just like you people to threaten someone.
Climb back in your Yacht count your money, your day will come.

happy6 writes:

jeeeeeeez..oldmarcoman...we ARE an island...boats get to anchor...money and rich has nothing to do with this near as i can tell...if a boat anchors and creates a problem, call the marco cops...and hope they show up in a timely manner....end of problem....this is just like the rental issue that's going on....the city needs to enforce the rules/law and we wouldn't have the problem.

matt#206381 writes:

I side with OldMarcoMan. If you want to live on the water, be prepared to accept the pro's and the con's of doing so, rather than legislate away the parts you don't like. Just like anywhere else. Take your pick. It's a free country. You can move anywhere.

Marconian writes:

I also agree with old marco man. why move to a maritime community and expect to not see some boats? That's just plain ignorant! Almost as bad as living next to a bar and expecting to NOT hear barroom noises.Jeez,whats next old farts complaining that they went to the beach and saw someone swimming!

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