Attn: Mayor and Commission
We urge elected officials to support the ongoing effort to create a Mooring Field in Biscayne Bay from the MacArthur Causeway to Sunset Habour. A Mooring Field is a legally defined area within a body of water. In Florida, a Mooring Field is established by local ordinance, codifying a management plan that regulates activity within the mooring field.
Hundreds of vessels are anchored in the water adjacent to West Ave, Belle Isle, and Sunset Harbour. Nearly all of them are polluting and damaging our bay. Their anchors scrape the environmentally sensitive bay floor. Their owners dump their feces directly into the bay. Most of these vessels haven’t moved in months and, in some cases, years. We know some of the owners Airbnb their boats. Not a single vessel pays taxes to the city of Miami Beach or supports our Public Schools (although many use different city services).
We understand there is pushback from some owners of Sunset Islands due to unsubstantiated claims that boats may relocate there and obstruct the views from their single-family homes. The city should prioritize improving the environment of our bay and reject the delay tactics that suggest the city must halt efforts to create the Mooring Field until the views of certain homeowners are protected by state law. The environment cannot wait. The battle in Tallahassee should continue while the city moves forward with its effort to protect the bay and the marine environment. A potential solution to Sunset Island concerns is to extend the Mooring Field boundary north to the Julia Tuttle Causeway. City staff tells us the waterways adjacent to the Sunset Islands are navigation channels, so Marine Patrol would authorize the towing of any boats that might relocate to these waters.
The three neighborhood associations that stretch from 5th Street to Sunset Harbour – Belle Isle, Sunset Harbour, and West Avenue Neighborhood Associations and the nearly ten thousand residents who live in these neighborhoods – have been and continue to support the city’s plan to create a Mooring Field to protect the environment. In addition, the neighborhood associations noted below & the the MWPA ( MB Marine Water & Protection Authority) Committee support the creation of a mooring field and ongoing application process.
We urge you to:
1. Allow the current CMB policy to support the creation of a Mooring Field and application process to continue to move forward.
2. Allow the city to complete all permitting – a lengthy and time-consuming process – for the proposed Mooring Field.
3. Consider expanding the size of the initial Mooring Field after receiving approvals from the county and the state. Do not reduce the size of the current plan for the Mooring Field.
4. Support efforts in the Florida legislature to protect property owners from uninvited vessels to drop anchors near private, city, county, or state-owned property.