Florida commissioners vote to save water access

STUART, Fla. - Commissioners in Martin County Florida voted 3-1 last week to
start the yearlong process of changing the county's master development plan to add a "no net loss" policy regarding marinas and boatyards, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported in a recent story.

The move is being made to make it harder to redevelop marinas and boatyards into condominiums. The policy would prohibit owners of marinas and boatyards from rezoning their property for residential development, unless they can provide a comparable marine service operation elsewhere in Martin County, the newspaper reported.

Commissioner Sarah Heard, the lone dissenter, said the policy does not do enough to protect marinas and boatyards, or other waterfront commercial land.
Heard supported a proposal to ban residential development on all waterfront commercial land, except small lots. Under that proposal, current homes would be allowed to stay, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

However, many believe "no net loss" policy strikes the proper balance between the property rights of the waterfront landowners and the need to preserve marinas and boatyards.

"It's been a long struggle to get through the complexities," said Ted Guy, a spokesman for the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast.

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