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Sebastian council to require permit fees to replace docks

SEBASTIAN – Residents living along Collier Creek Canal can expect to pay permit fees if they decide to reinstall their docks in the waterway. Only those homeowners who had appropriate permits to begin with will be exempt.

Councilwoman Andrea Coy suggested the city require the permit fee – estimated at about $75 – for those who wish to install docks because the city had made what she believed to be $30,000 worth of improvements to the individual private properties. She also pointed out that the city was loosening its guidelines and requirements for those docks.

“We’re leaning, leaning, leaning,” Coy said.

City Manager Al Minner had recommended that the city waive the permit fees until July 30 for all the affected property owners.

Due to the dredging and installation of seawalls along the canal, the city had to remove landscaping, trees, docks and other improvements homeowners had installed and planted within the city’s right of way.

Wimbrow Drive resident David Klein expressed his displeasure over having to pay the permit fees and questioned just how much value the improvements made to his home.

“You took $30,000 of landscaping and trees … and you’re not giving that back to me,” he said.

Sebastian resident Damien Gilliams also questioned the council’s consideration of charging the fee.

“There should be no fees,” he said. “These are not the times to be charging people. We know people are hurting.”

The council voted 3-1 in favor of charging the permit fee. Councilman Eugene Wolff abstained from the vote as he is a resident along the canal.

Councilman Don Wright, after an extended pause, voted against the measure. He did not express his opinion or reason for his vote.

Councilwoman Coy, Mayor Richard Gillmor and Vice Mayor Jim Hill favored the motion.

Affected resident who want to install a dock in the canal will not have to follow the originally proposed onerous design and permit requirements, according to Minner.

After meeting with residents and representatives from the contractor who performed the canal work, Minner wrote up what he believes to be easier plans for the docks.

Residents are encouraged to call the city’s building department to discuss those plans. The Sebastian Building Department can be reached at (772) 589-5537.

A permit would also be required for new fencing. And while landscaping and irrigation do not require permits, residents should contact the building department to be sure they do not inadvertently damage the newly installed seawall.

Certain trees will not be allowed to be planted within the city’s right of way along the canal due to the damage the trees’ root systems could do to the wall.

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