Florida speed zone vote delayed

NAPLES, Fla. – A final vote on lower boat-speed zones on Naples Bay was postponed until Oct. 6 by the Naples (Fla.) City Council yesterday after two council members abruptly changed their minds and decided to delay the final hearing on the zones, the Naples Daily News reported in an article today.

Supporters of the delay want to allow time for a joint workshop between the Collier County Commission and the Naples City Council on the boat-speed issue, according to the newspaper.

After Wednesday's vote to delay the hearing, the City Council meeting came to a stop as disorder overtook the packed meeting room. Marine Industries Association of Collier County leader Phil Osborne rushed to the dais to shake city council member Bill MacIlvaine's hand, while supporters of slower speed zones heckled the City Council from the audience, the Daily News reported.

"I'm very disappointed in this City Council, that's all I can tell you, very disappointed," shouted speed zone advocate Joe Biasella, who runs a boat salvage business on Naples Bay.

The proposal causing the controversy would add weekday slow speed zones where there are only weekend zones now and would create a new slow speed zone. An existing idle speed zone in Gordon Pass would also be changed to a slow speed zone, and an existing 30 mph zone in part of the bay would be reduced to 20 mph, according to the newspaper.

The boating industry has opposed slower speed zones as unnecessary and harmful to business.

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