Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin Causeway's overnight restrictions make boaters unhappy

DUNEDIN — There once was a time, Mike Canfield says, when the Dunedin Causeway stayed soaked in youthful drunkenness and all-night parties.

But for beachgoers like Canfield, now 40, the beers have given way to boats, sailed or double-hulled, attached to trailers and launched from the shoreline into St. Joseph Sound.

It's a transformation the network engineer from Palm Harbor now enjoys on catamaran trips along the coast, his 10-year-old daughter, Flannery, learning to sail alongside him. But efforts to keep the causeway clean, especially overnight, will soon cost him $100 every year.

The Dunedin City Commission approved an ordinance on Thursday banning the parking of boats, vehicles and other property along the causeway from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exceptions made for owners of a special city-provided license. It expands upon an old policy that banned overnight camping storage.

Officials from the city and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office say the ban will get rid of gear that blocks the shoreline view and draws in thieves and vandals. But the licensing agreement, being written this week, has already gained opponents who say sailors' freedoms will be too restricted or not restricted enough.

Ten bucks will buy a two-day pass allowing boaters a beachside storage spot without the worry of returning the next day to a ticket. For $100 boaters can buy an annual license, with certain caveats: Holders will only be allowed the same two days per week, every week, unless they call to reschedule.

For example, a Saturday-Sunday license will mean only weekend trips, said City Attorney John Hubbard, unless a holder changes it in advance.

Boaters from around Pinellas County told commissioners that restricting what was once a free beach to two nights a week would make it hard on future trips. Who knows, asked Marilyn Cavallaro of Dunedin, when the wind will blow?

"To limit this," she told City Hall, "is heartbreaking for a sailor."

Commissioners said they wanted to allow enough leniency for legitimate sailors wanting a night on the Gulf of Mexico. Still, stowed and derelict property littering the water's edge, as announced by deputies who patrolled the area, remained an issue of safety.

"We forge our own chains. It is people abusing the thing that makes us react to it," Hubbard said. "Nobody would have cared if people had acted responsibly — and these sailboaters were acting responsibly — but a lot of people weren't.

"It became a problem and now we have to adjust the problem —but it would have been nicer to leave it alone."

Some, like Commissioner David Carson, think the ban should have gone further. Handing out licenses will encourage more storage on the sand, he said, not less.

"I don't want this to be a parking lot," said Carson, the sole dissenting vote on Thursday's approval. "I truly believe this will get worse."

Deputies wanted "more teeth in the ordinance," he said, so abandoned gear could be towed instead of just ticketed. Now, what was just about a half-dozen trailers left nightly, as one boater estimated, could be bolstered by others whose licenses give them free rein.

The license's exact wording still needs to be written and submitted to the Sheriff's Office before the ordinance will be enforced, Hubbard said. Boaters hope the clean sweep will be worth it.

"Catamaran sailing on the causeway has really been a lush and vibrant part of this community," said Dunedin resident David Parker. "It is a nighttime culture that we would like to preserve."

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Dunedin Causeway's overnight restrictions make boaters unhappy 07/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 8:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wisniewska: I protected our students and USFSP campus

    Columns

    Throughout my tenure in academia, my focus has always been on putting students first.

    The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
  2. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Along the Alafia River, the grateful extend a hand to the Irma-sodden weary

    Hurricanes

    LITHIA — The things that make a house a home dried in the afternoon sun Thursday in a front yard on Williams Street.

    Volunteers from FishHawk Fellowship Church helped Brian Hood (left) clean up debris from his yard in Valrico, Fla. Last week the Alafia River reached a depth of almost 23 feet, about 10 feet above its flood stage. Many homes were damaged, some became uninhabitable. Hood's home is 6 inches above Lithia Pinecrest Road, and did not sustain flood damage, though not all of his neighbors were as lucky.   [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  5. What to watch this weekend: 'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'DuckTales' returns

    Blogs

    Boldly go: Star Trek: Discovery

    It's been more than 50 years since the original Star Trek premiered, but the new CBS series is set 10 years before Kirk and Spock. Star Trek: Discovery explores the war between the Federation and the Klingons while following the USS Discovery, an exploratory …

    Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery on CBS.