Today, the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners discussed the amended ordinance on Floating Structures on Crab Island.
After a few additional revisions, here is what was approved.
A summary of the new draft text changes since the December 17, 2019 Board of County Commission meeting include:
- Reorganized Ordinance to create a separate section addressing limitations within the Crab Island Entertainment Area.
- Modified the annual fee structure over the prior proposed fees as follows:
- Increased monthly fee for commercial vessels from $200 to $400 per month per vessel.
- Increased the monthly fee for floating structures occupying less than 1,500 square feet from $1,000 per month to $1,500 per month per vessel.
- Increased the monthly fee for floating structures occupying 1,500 square feet or more from $1,500 per month to $2,000 per month per vessel.
- Eliminated any fee based upon a percentage of revenue derived from the vessel or structure and eliminated any prior provisions that addressed the administration and collection of the percentage of revenue.
- Eliminated any limitation on the number of vessels or floating structures that may operate in the Crab Island Entertainment Area provided they meet the other requirements of the Ordinance.
- The proposed amendment eliminates any lottery system for the selection of vessels or floating structures that may operate in the Area and any prior provisions that addressed the administration of the lottery.
- Amended the provisions requiring propeller cages to only those commercial vessels under 21 feet in length or floating structures that have transport capabilities.
- Vessels are prohibited from leaving passengers on Crab Island
Background: This past year the Gulf Islands National Seashore started requiring commercial use agreements for all businesses who are vending on Crab Island to gather information as it relates to the commercial use activity on Crab Island. They have issued twenty six (26) permits to vendors this calendar year. Included in the list of vendors are twelve (12) floating structures which are regulated by the County’s ordinance. The floating structures were also issued permits by the County to either operate for several months or for the season which ended on October 31, 2019.
The Floating Structures Committee started meeting in April of 2019 to review the ordinance and gather pertinent information. The Committee’s recommended changes were presented to the Board at its October 22, 2019 Board Workshop and a public hearing was held on December 17, 2019 to consider the proposed changes. As examples, starting in 2020 the floating structures are permitted to still operate, but are prohibited from staying on Crab Island overnight and are required to harbor at an appropriate commercial location. Additionally, the sale of alcohol from a commercial vessel is prohibited.