Slower speed zone proposal likely to be challenged

NAPLES, Fla. – An initial proposal that would impose slower speed zones on Naples Bay was passed Wednesday by the Naples City Council on a 5-2 vote, the Naples Daily News reported in an article today.

An existing 30-mph zone in a stretch of Naples Bay along Port Royal would be reduced to 20 mph under the proposal. Supporters of the speed zones believe the slower speeds would be safer for people, put manatees at less risk and improve the bay’s environment by eliminating wakes blamed for uprooting sea grasses and clouding the water, the Daily News reported.

But the two council members who voted against the proposal said the city did not have enough data on manatee deaths or boating accidents to justify slower speeds. Marine industry supporters, wearing red T-shirts with “Education Not Regulation” printed across the front, packed the council chambers and outnumbered slow speed zone supporters, according to the newspaper.

A lawyer representing the Marine Industries Association of Collier County told the newspaper that the group would probably file a legal challenge if the zones are posted. A final vote is set for June 16. After that, the city must get permission from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to post signs to enforce the zones, the Daily News reported.

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