Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Treasure Island commission to take on war over beach raking

TREASURE ISLAND — For a city that largely built its reputation on its wide, white, sandy beach, it seems too much sand is not a good thing, at least for the city's tourism industry.

Several years ago, the city began protecting and encouraging the growth of dunes. The goal, supported by both federal and state regulations, was to create a more natural beach that would be a buffer against storm surges.

Traditional beach raking at the foot of the dunes was restricted and virtually eliminated in recent years. Growth of native plants, including sandspurs, was protected. The dunes spread wider and grew taller.

As a result, the protected dunes blocked views of the Gulf of Mexico — and access to the beach — from many hotels.

Growth of sea oats, sea grapes, sandspurs and other native plants flourished.

Animal life, including rats, increased as well.

During its workshop session Tuesday, the City Commission will debate an effort by unhappy beachfront hotel and motel owners to halt that dune growth.

The workshop is held directly after the commission's regular meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.

Largely as a result of beach property owner complaints, the city's Beach Stewardship Committee is recommending that the city change its "no rake" zone to allow grooming of the sand closer to the base of existing dunes.

City policy restricts beach raking to no closer than 15 feet from the base of any dune and bars any raking along the wall separating the public beach from hotels and other beachfront private properties.

However, state and federal regulations may restrict how much, if at all, the city can reverse those policies.

"We have been raking that sand for 40 years. There is nothing in our constitution or bylaws that says we can't rescind that (beach raking) resolution," argues Commissioner Ed Gayton Jr., who called for the commission debate.

"Eventually the beach will be all one large dune," complains David King, owner of the Tahitian Beach Motel at 11320 Gulf Blvd.

King makes no effort to hide his dislike of the city's dune system which, he says, blocks easy access to the beach from his 1960s hotel.

"My guests want to see and hear the water. They tell me that it is difficult to walk through the sticky stickers (sandspurs). Some have told me they won't come back because of the dunes," says King.

He strongly supports the efforts of city resident Sid Appel, who says he represents more than 90 percent of beachfront property owners.

Last month, Appel told city officials that the owners are prepared to sue the city to force better beach maintenance and restriction of dune growth.

He presented a petition signed by 71 business owners and residents living on the Gulf of Mexico who demand that the city remove weeds, sandspurs, cacti and other nuisance plants growing on the beach, as well as rats that live in the dunes.

Appel says Treasure Island is "at a competitive disadvantage" when compared with other west coast tourist destinations.

Treasure Island commission to take on war over beach raking 01/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 2, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  4. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change

    National

    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  5. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.