REDINGTON BEACH — Elections and crime got the attention of Redington Beach commissioners Dec. 2 as they continued their review of the town code.
Town Attorney Jay Daigneault offered up potential changes to sections of the code as part of an ongoing review of the municipality’s laws. In a memorandum, Daigneault noted that many of the town’s ordinances had not been reviewed in at least 10 years, while much of the code originated 40 years ago.
Review of Redington Beach’s town codes began in March 2019.
The current slate of potential changes, Daigneault told commissioners, would primarily update language and bring these chapters of the code into full compliance with changes in county and state law.
The chapter on elections would change references to “absentee balloting” to “vote by mail” to reflect terminology changes by the Legislature. Other changes, largely administrative, include removing references to a section of the Florida Statutes that was repealed in 1977.
Resident Rich Cariello questioned the “optics” of considering any changes to the election code as the qualifying period for candidates to file was Dec. 4 for the March 9 commission election. He said action on the change should be delayed until after the election.
Commissioner Tom Dorgan said the proposed revisions were “just clarification” that would not affect the election process.
Several proposed revisions in the chapter on “miscellaneous offenses” would reflect “best practices” and changes in overriding laws, Daigneault said. New provisions would address obstructing town officials in the performance of their duties, sleeping in certain places, false alarms, obstructing traffic and trespassing.
The prohibition against “sleeping, lying or reclining” on public rights-of-way during daylight hours was questioned by Commissioner Dave Will, who wondered why it was limited to only daytime hours.
“What’s the negative” of taking out the phrase, he asked Daigneault.
The town has greater control during the day, the attorney said, but taking action against such actions during night hours would have the effect of making homelessness a crime, which courts have ruled is illegal. The town has to accept “some degree of flexibility” during the nighttime hours, he said. However, actions such as lighting fires or erecting tents on the beach can be regulated.
The section on false alarms would require residents to file a report about a false alarm within 10 days. If more than three false alarms are reported at the home within a 12-month period, the resident would be fined. If the problem is not fixed, the fire department could order the alarm disconnected or institute a mandatory fire watch.
The code changes are expected to be presented for first reading Jan. 6.
In other action
• Town Clerk Missy Clarke announced that consulting engineer Lynn Burnett will conduct a public forum on stormwater issues Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m., at 163rd Avenue and Third Street East.
• Mayor Nick Simons introduced the new building official, Bruce Cooper. He replaces longtime building official Darin Cushing.