BROOKSVILLE — A proposal to regulate how many boats Hernando County residents can store in their yards is dead in the water.
Commissioners on Tuesday debated a measure at the request of the county's Citizens Ordinance Advisory Team. The team had discussed at a recent meeting how the county codes say that derelict cars and multiple recreational vehicles need to be hidden from view or removed from yards, but no rules spoke to boats.
Several area residents came to the commission to complain about the boats. Butch Lane, who lives off Friendly Road, complained of his neighbor's six boats, which he used for his weed harvesting business.
"This is totally inappropriate,'' Lane said.
Other residents urged regulations to keep homes near yards full of boats from losing any more value and complained of boats that had sat on residential lots for years without ever being moved.
But the boating enthusiasts were also there to urge the board to drop discussion of regulation. Chuck Morton, chairman of the county's Port Authority, described the use of the 12 boats at his waterfront home.
They ranged from six kayaks in a rack used by friends to a paddle boat to a utility boat. "There's different boats for different purposes,'' Morton said.
Those who don't want to see boats in a coastal community, he suggested "should move to a deed-restricted community.''
"Economically, a lot of people have toys that they can't use right now,'' said Wayne Dukes, a Hernando Beach resident running for County Commission. "There are also boats with For Sale signs.''
Hernando Beach resident Delton Johnson said he would have nowhere else to put his boat but on the side of his house. "There is a water area. This a boat area,'' he said, urging commissioners to scrub the regulation idea.
Commissioner Rose Rocco said the west Hernando waterfront communities are what attracted many to come to and buy in the area and boats were a part of that. That is in contrast to Spring Hill which, when deed restrictions were in place, didn't allow boats.
"I don't see a one-size fits all,'' Rocco said. "I think we really need to tread easy on this.''
Chairman John Druzbick agreed that a blanket approach wouldn't work and questioned whether code enforcement could do more to remedy some of the situations. Commissioners discussed whether they could regulate more using boat stickers and trailer licenses.
Commissioner Dave Russell asked whether there was any way of dealing with a lot full of boats that were not maintained but Liana Teague, director of animal services and code enforcement, said not without an ordinance.
In an unrelated item, the commissioners reached consensus that they want to abandon what is known as the "similarity ordinance.'' Originally passed in 2000, the ordinance created standards for similarity of residential structures.
County staff explained that the ordinance was originally aimed at modular structures and that existing zoning already regulates where single family homes are to be built and where mobile homes are allowed.
Commissioners agreed to have a formal agenda item on repealing the ordinance at a future commission meeting.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.