Sarasota County Commission voting to remove the ability for any commercially registered vehicle or vessel to park, transit, moore, anchor or pick up from any county property inside Sarasota County.
Tuesday’s effort would greatly impact fishermen, both commercial and recreational
Sarasota, FL (October 17th, 2023) Sarasota area commercial and recreational fishermen are facing the consequences of a Sarasota County Commission’s upcoming vote regarding a proposed amendment to chapter 90 of the County code as it relates to park, beach, and land use. The Commission will be voting on Tuesday, October 24th to remove the ability for any commercially registered vehicles or vessels to park, transit, moore, anchor or pick up from any county property inside Sarasota County including their nine County-owned boat ramps and areas like Nokomis beach park which is a waterside park with seawall boat access
Local fishermen and the Florida Guides Association (FGA) are asking for support to STOP this amendment to the County code. This would allow further time for the FGA and its members of Sarasota County an opportunity to work with the County Commission and County staff to develop practical steps forward. Further communication and negotiation are needed between the County and fishermen that would help both the County and the recreational fishermen who visit, live in, and operate businesses in Sarasota County succeed while maintaining open access to the county’s waterways.
A presentation on the topic has been created for Tuesday’s Commission meeting but it is only one part of the lengthy agenda, further, there is no plan to show the presentation unless a commissioner requests it.
The issue began a year and a half ago when County officials and staff began to recognize a parking issue at County boat ramps and parks. Often, lots were full and parking was at capacity while more and more boating operations were conducting businesses from these locations. Currently, the FGA has been notified that the County is unable to create a permitting program or licensing requirement and is unsure if this would even be possible. The County’s short-term resolution is a vote to modify the County code to make such operations illegal until at an undetermined date in the future when the Commission readdresses the issue and creates a reasonable resolution for all parties.
Currently, Sarasota County has an agreement with FWC to maintain their nine County-owned boat launches and due to that agreement, they cannot charge fees for these boat launch areas. The Commission’s concern is that the County would be unable to create an allowable permit and/or license fee for businesses to operate legally from County areas.
FGA has only recently been made aware that the County has conducted studies and research on this concern for nearly two years and has been sending letters, emails, and surveys to charter businesses along the coast of Sarasota County and to those businesses and charters they have directly interacted with in these county parks, launches and properties along the coast.
However, the FGA was only now made aware of this potential cut to access. The FGA Board of Directors finds it extremely discriminatory and unacceptable to disallow access to recreational fisherman because the County is unwilling or unable to find other alternatives. We understand there are some issues to work towards and through and our organization is willing, able, and ready to stand with the county to ensure we can help our Florida guides in Sarasota County continue to operate legally while offering recreational fishing to residents, guests and visitors of Sarasota County.
CONTACT YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS->
Here’s some information on the county board of county commissioners and its make up, and their contact information
You have five Commissioners in Sarasota County for your five districts here’s the general address the office number and their names and emails.
- Commissioner Neil Rainford (2024 elections)
- Commissioner Joe Neanderthal
- Commissioner Ron Cutsinger (2024 election)
- County admin Jonathan Lewis
Offices Located At:
The ones with elections next year are going to be most willing to listen if you would like to email them to implore them to help us work with the county to stop this amendment to county code. Allow us an opportunity to work with the county on steps forward to help both the county and the recreational fisherman that visit, live in and operate businesses in Sarasota County!
Capt Dylan Hubbard