Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Frustrated by state inaction, Clearwater will try reminding beach homeowners of dunes rules

CLEARWATER — Weed whackers. Chain saws. Bobcat bulldozers.

Beach outlaws have chosen their weapons to destroy sand dunes. Now city leaders have chosen their own to fight back:

Certified letters.

The City Council has shown frustration for months over the state's lax enforcement of laws protecting the Clearwater Beach dunes, which guard the beaches from erosion and storms. In February, the city wrote the state about gaining authority to police its own dunes.

Last month, the state wrote back, saying the city could take partial control if it had the money and work force to enforce the law.

And the council responded: Well, about that …

"My big concern is, I don't want to take on the regulatory responsibility the state has," Mayor Frank Hibbard said last week. "It's under the state's jurisdiction. They ought to enforce it."

Hibbard worried that enforcement would cost too much for the city's tight budget, and council members suggested there were thriftier ways to watch the dunes.

Vice Mayor George Cretekos suggested the city could install signs on North Beach, source of most of the dune complaints. But the council unanimously voted for an even cheaper option: sending letters to beach homeowners reminding them of the rules.

Members said the letters will serve as an "initial step" of enforcement, with potentially stronger repercussions to come. Council member John Doran said he wanted assurance that "if people misbehave … we have the capacity to inflict some real pain."

"If we're writing a letter telling them we don't like them, I'd rather save the money," Doran said. "They already know we don't like them."

Most complainants said violators cut paths through the dunes to keep access to the beach, saying the sand was on their property.

"There are a lot of people who would rather ask for forgiveness than permission," Hibbard said. "They feel if they get caught it's no big deal."

City maps show five homes on Eldorado Avenue where the state Department of Environmental Protection has suspected dune violations. The state sent warning letters, said city environmental manager Ed Chesney, but rarely followed up.

"The only reason that we were even considering getting into the state's business," Doran said, "was because, quite frankly, the state's not taking care of business."

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Frustrated by state inaction, Clearwater will try reminding beach homeowners of dunes rules 04/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  2. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea

    National

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography

    Crime

    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea

    Politics

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.