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Belleair Bee
IRB plans Intracoastal Waterway committee
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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city is taking steps to establish a new ad hoc Intracoastal Waterway committee. The language of a resolution under consideration by the City Commission recognizes the role of the waterway and its spoil islands as a valuable resource to the city that requires proper management and protection.

The main objective for the new committee is the development of a long range Intracoastal Management Plan, patterned after the Beach Management Plan produced earlier this year by the ad hoc beach management committee. The plan would make specific recommendations and include suggested changes to city code.

The Intracoastal Waterway plan is to address such matters as waterway preservation, discouragement of development and other activities that could adversely impact the waterway, how to encourage preservation and promote shoreline stabilization, plus ways to minimize environmental degradation and protect wetlands. The plan also would provide general structural design guidelines, including typical cross sections of Intracoastal protection structures.

When considering the resolution, commissioners recommended several modifications. Commissioner R.B. Johnson suggested that the committee’s scope be expanded to look at establishing guidelines for future dredging activities.

Johnson also suggested that the committee evaluate the best usage of the publicly owned waterfront property in town, due in part to the fact that these areas are the only public access to the Intracoastal. There was a consensus by the commission on both points.

Commissioner Jeremiah Carmody suggested that the committee examine water quality and environmental policies and activities of other jurisdictions, and the commission agreed.

Commissioner Bill Ockunzzi recommended that the new board be given a two-year time frame similar to the ad hoc beach management committee’s charter. Ockunzzi also suggested that the resolution establishing the committee define the boundaries and scope specifically in its language, with that scope to include abutting water basins that drain into the Intracoastal.

Community development director Pete Pensa, who would be liaison to the new board, said that the resolution is being redrafted to include the changes recommended by the commission. It will reappear on the agenda for a vote at next Tuesday’s commission meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. in the city auditorium.

Membership for the new board will be open to all residents of Indian Rocks Beach. Interested citizens are encouraged to submit applications for membership. Commissioners want to get the new committee working as soon as possible after passage of the resolution.
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