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Aquaculture says it will monitor illegal dump site

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By Ada Lang

Cedar Key's  aquaculture group says it wants to help with illegal dumping in the city.
Household trash and cover nets have been dumped in the Shell Pile area behind the marina on State Road 24 for years, according to local officials.

But Ken Edmunds, of the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, said he thinks he has a solution for the dump site. Edmunds offered for the association to monitor the area on a regular basis for six months, beginning right after Coastal Clean up, an annual event aimed at cleaning America's coasts.  

The idea is to have a designated area for cover net to be placed and collected on a regular basis, he said, though also stating he's not sure how the program will be funded.

The idea of placing a lockable dumpster at the site was suggested by Commissioner Scott Dennison, though other commissioner thought the idea wouldn't work. Commissioner Sue Colson said she didn't believe people would even use a lockable dumpster.

The commissioners, who are considering closing the site if dumping continues, said they thought Edmunds idea was worth a shot. Most of the trash at the site consists of cover nets left over from commercial clammers who use the area to gain access to the water.

Besides being a nuisance and eyesore on the beach, cover netting is known to be a danger to wildlife, sometimes entangling turtles, birds and fish. Last year, volunteers collected a lot of netting from the water and beaches during Coastal Cleanup. Officials hope this year's efforts will be as good. Efforts to control illegal dumping at the site will begin after Sept. 17.

In other matters:

• Former City of Cedar Key attorney David Coffey presented an update on the status of the Form Based Code Committee. The committee is a group tasked with developing a more user-friendly set of land development regulations, which are expected to be based on the best features of Cedar Key’s neighborhoods.

The group hasn't met in more than a year, according to Coffey.  At the meeting, he outlined the work being done by the committee, showing numerous photographs, maps, diagrams and drawings.

The new regulations could be very useful in rebuilding after a storm event because it would document much of what exists now.  The commission voted unanimously to allow the committee to continue their work and report back in 90 days.

• The commission decided to not renew the contract of building official Walt Brown, which was up for consideration at Tuesday night’s meeting.

In the past, the commission said it considered some of the permits issued by Brown to be questionable. Builders Ken Edmonds and Ronnie Taylor both spoke favorably of Brown and said they felt that the builder in at least one case, Cody West, was the one to blame.

According to officials, West built two additions on a home on State Road 24. One of the additions now encroaches into wetlands, officials said. Brown caught the violation last week, but city officials said he did not catch the glitch soon enough.

Resident Walt McJordan was insistent that the permit package was incomplete. Resident and retired architect Frank Offerle echoed the concern, adding that the additions should have been viewed as new construction, based on Florida building codes

After the decision, Brown, City attorney Holly Blumenthal and Public Works Director Josh Wilson met to discuss where other permitting matters are in the process so that a smooth transition can occur when a new code official is hired.