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Keys To Consider Limits On 'Floating Structures'

Monroe County Marine Resources
Monroe County has seen an increase in the presence of floating structures just offshore, with uses including a playground and this advertisement for helicopter tours.

In the Florida Keys, land is at a premium. But there's plenty of water — which means in recent years the area has seen an increase in the number of floating structures.

That's defined in state law as something that floats but is not a means of transportation, like a boat. Floating structures are used as homes, restaurants — and recently in the Keys, for a playground and an advertisement for helicopter tours.

Monroe County's marine resources office reports the number of complaints has grown, too, and that the structures often have "negative impacts, including abandonment, hazards to navigation, use of debris piles for mooring, environmental damage, as well as the aesthetic nuisance," according to a staff report to the Monroe County Commission.

The commission meets on Wednesday in Key West. The staff is recommending that the county draw up an ordinance that would prohibit the anchoring or mooring of floating structures in Monroe County waters in the Keys, except for those that are authorized by the state or federal agencies.

County waters extend from shore three miles on the ocean side and nine miles on the Gulf side of the island chain.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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