Pinellas rejects dock on Crystal Beach

08/05/08 Emily Reddy
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

A Crystal Beach man who wants to build a dock behind his waterfront house was told “no” today by the Pinellas County Commission. Dozens of Crystal Beach residents spoke out against allowing the dock to be built before commissioners voted.

Glenn Bergoffen says he wants the dock behind his house so that he can go fishing with his grandkids. When he bought his house five years ago, he says he assumed he could build a dock because there had been one there in the past. But, the beachfront Bergoffen hoped to put his dock on is county-owned and a public right-of-way.

Commissioner Kenneth Welch and many in the crowd objected to giving away public lands.

Calvin Smith said that letting Bergoffen build his nearly 300-foot dock would have set a precedent, allowing others to do the same. The nine houses south of Bergoffen’s are similarly situated and could ask for the same deal from the county. Smith worried that all these docks would ruin the natural beauty of the beach.

Many of those who spoke out against the dock objected because they believed it would hurt the environment. The county’s director of environmental management, Will Davis, said there would be an impact, but the proposed dock was within county standards.

But Davis said the impact would have grown with every successive dock.

Pat Edmond is a Florida master naturalist. She spoke out against the environmental impact.

The Commission unanimously rejected giving Bergoffen the land for the dock. However, Commissioner Karen Seel said the committee might entertain the idea of creating a public pier on the land.

Bergoffen declined comment on the idea of a public pier.

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