INDIAN SHORES – Indian Shores town councilors No. 13 voted 4-1 to adopt an ordinance on first reading to help protect sea turtles.

Primarily designed to address lighting and obstruction on the beach that interferes with sea turtle nesting, the ordinance updates an existing ordinance already in the code.

The purpose of the ordinance is to comply with the Federal Endangered Species Act, the Florida Marine Turtle Protection Act and to incorporate the guidelines of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for sea turtle protection.

Pinellas County officials will send letters to the town regarding violations, making the town ultimately responsible for any fines incurred by infractions caused by residents. In the past, the county’s main concern has been to “educate the public,” said Mayor Pat Soranno who noted that the town has not been required to pay fines on this matter to date.

The turtle nesting season is May 1 to Oct. 31 and that is when the ordinance will be enforced. Councilor Mike Petruccelli expressed his concern that the ordinance was too intrusive and voted against it.

Town administrator Bonnie Dhonau explained that there were implications on both state and federal levels.

“The Endangered Species Act on the federal level requires us (town of Indian Shores) to comply in order to secure beach renourishment in the future,” said Dhonau.

Also adopted on first reading was alcohol ordinance passed unanimously on its first reading. Blue law sections in the prior ordinance regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays were omitted. The ordinance prohibits on-premises serving of alcoholic beverages from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily and requires that the establishments serving the alcohol remain closed during that time. Vendors dispensing liquor for off-premise consumption must be closed from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. daily.

In other matters:

• Three ordinances that were tabled unanimously are slated for workshops. The second reading of the floodplain ordinance stalled regarding wording from FEMA that was deemed inappropriate by the Town Council for local situations in Florida. The second reading of an administrative and finance ordinance also required wording clarification. Finally, the Leave-No-Trace ordinance prohibiting leaving personal items such as chairs on the beach after dark was suspended during its first reading for corrections.

• Three special events permits were unanimously approved. They are: the Roula Staveley and David wedding Thursday, March 7, at the Tiki Gardens beach access from 2 to 6:30 p.m.; Caddy’s Pub 5K Beach Walk/Run Sunday, Jan. 1, from 7-10 a.m.; and the Dog & Parrot’s 3rd Annual Fifty Legs Turkey Bowl Fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Council approves reappointments and new hire

• Mark McKee was reappointed to the Police Pension Board for another four-year term, which will end Oct. 28, 2022. Joe Tawil was reappointed to Seat 1 on the Board of Adjustment for a three-year term that will expire on Oct. 28, 2021 and Lindsey Noble was reappointed to Seat 2 on the Board of Adjustment for a three-year term ending Oct. 28, 2021.

The recommendation to hire Steven Hale for the full time public services position was unanimously approved by the council.

• The Town Council agreed to replace curbing and pavers adjacent to the seawall that were damaged during Hurricane Irma. The cost to fix the damage is $27,404 and is 75 percent reimbursable from FEMA. Island Pavers of Seminole provided the estimate and will be doing the work.

It was difficult to get contractors to do the job in a reasonable time frame between Hurricane Michael and the building boom, Dhonau said.