Longboat leaders debate red tide dead fish removal policy

Editor & Publisher

What constitutes a marina? Should the town of Longboat Key spend public funds removing dead fish as a result of red tide from condominium dock facilities as well as “so called marinas?” This question grew into a debate last week at a commission meeting. The issue was not on the agenda but was raised during the Public to be Heard when a representative, Alan Fishbein from Bay Harbour, said that he does not understand why the town has cleaned all of the canals but will not remove the dead fish that have piled up in their boat basin.

At issue, is the fact that the town has adopted a policy that removes the fish from canals but explicitly not from “marinas.”

The argument at the commission meeting was that although the complex is referred to as a marina and took out a business tax license, it is simply boat docks that residents who live at the development rent and a small fee is paid because there are less docks than residential units.

The argument continued that there is nothing different at the condominium with the docks than at a residential home on a canal that has a dock and is currently enjoying the service of having the rotting fish removed.

Commissioner Armando Linde asked if the town had cleared the boat basin in the past. Town Manager Dave Bullock warned the commission that if it makes the exception for Bay Harbour they ought to make it very narrow or the town will be removing fish from all the marinas.

Vice Mayor Terry Gans opined that he would be open to performing a one-time cleaning but added that the commission would need to really discuss the policy and the overall situation perhaps at a workshop.

Commissioner Irwin Pastor suggested that the town see if the owners of Bay Harbour would be willing to pay or reimburse the town for the service.

Commissioner Phill Younger said that if there’s really little difference between a so-called marina at a residential development and a canal, then the town should be cleaning them all. Gans said he was not ready to make a philosophical or legal commitment that night.

The commission went down Pastor’s path and instructed Bullock to provide Bay Harbour with an estimate to clean their marina. Fishbein said he would go to his board afterward and see if they would be willing to pay.

Bullock said at the end, “I want to make sure we are not going to clean Twin Shores, Dock on the Bay and Spanish Main, because I expect I’ll get calls.”

The commission said to get an estimate for Bay Harbour.

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1 Response for “Longboat leaders debate red tide dead fish removal policy”

  1. Ken S says:

    Why would you not clean the dead fish in front of a condo complex but would in front of a home? What is the difference? Both pay taxes (and quite a significant amount). What is the legal difference that the Town is using to justify treating homeowners differently?

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