From: Richard D. Garrity, Director of District Management, Southwest
Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest District, 3804 Coconut Palm Drive, Tampa, Florida 33619
Dear Pinellas County Resident:
If you are an owner of waterfront property that is zoned for either commercial or multi-family residential use (such as a condominium, townhouse or apartment), we would like you to know about recent changes made to the State rules governing the construction of docks in Pinellas County.
As you may be aware, most of the waters of Pinellas County lie within an Aquatic Preserve. Aquatic Preserves are areas specifically designated by the State of Florida because of their unique natural resources. Consequently, these resources are afforded special protection so that they remain healthy and in abundance for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Pinellas County is even more unique in that it is also one of the most urbanized areas in the State. To address this, the dock criteria of the Aquatic Preserve rules were recently amended to reflect both the need to protect natural resources and to recognize the urban nature of Pinellas County Aquatic Preserves. These changes affect both existing and proposed docking facilities. For existing docks, a new grandfathering provision was created that will enable docks that were built in conformance with the permitting criteria of the Pinellas County Water and Navigation Control Authority and all required authorizations from the State of Florida to be maintained or rebuilt in the future. However, for those structures permitted by Pinellas County that were built without a corresponding authorization from the State of Florida, to qualify for grandfathering, you will be required to:
1. Register with the Department on or before May 1, 1998, by providing:
a copy of the Pinellas County permit and a statement of intent to apply
for a least by May 1, 1999;
2. Submit a completed application for lease under Chapter 18-21 of the Florida Administrative Code by May 1, 1999; and
3. Pay standard lease fees, including lease fees in arrears from either April 1, 1991, the date of conveyance of the riparian upland property to the current owner or the documented date of the commencement of construction, whichever is later.
Please keep in mind that if the State did not authorize your dock and you do not apply for grandfathering, it is possible that your dock would have to be altered or even removed to comply with the new rule. You may also be subject to the payment of administrative fines and lease fees in arrears from the date of construction.
The Tampa Office of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be handling the grandfather registration process as well as the implementation of the new rule. If you have any questions or would like to take advantage of the grandfathering program, please contact us at the letterhead address, or by phone at 813 744-6100, extensions 484 or 347. We look forward to serving you.
Richard D. Garrity