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Public comment invited on new speed zones in Hillsborough River

DUE DATE FOR COMMENTS: Thursday, December 10, 2020 (5:00 PM EST)

On November 3, 2020, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission) received a complete application from the City of Tampa requesting approval of an adopted ordinance to establish multiple Slow Speed Minimum Wake and Idle Speed No Wake boating-restricted areas within the Hillsborough River pursuant to Section 327.46(1)(c), Florida Statutes (F.S.) and Rule 68D-21.004, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.).

The boating-restricted areas would be within the Hillsborough River to include the waters south of Sligh Avenue Bridge out to Seddon Channel (see map for details). The City of Tampa contends that the boating safety zone is needed to protect public safety from hazards such as vessel traffic around the bridge fender systems, vessel traffic under bridges with less than a 25 foot vertical clearance, protect vessels and users at public docks or launching and landing facilities, and to close “gaps” of less than 500 feet between regulatory zones. The City of Tampa is required to provide competent substantial evidence that the ordinance establishing the boating-restricted area is necessary to protect the safety of the public.

As a part of the City of Tampa’s ordinance review application, they have provided evidence in support of the proposed zone to the Commission. At this time the adopted ordinance has been approved by the Commission based upon the evidence submitted.

As required by Rule 68D-21.001(3), F.A.C., the City of Tampa has published as provided by Sections 50.011-.031, F.S., once a week for two consecutive weeks, notice of the public hearing on their ordinance in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the ordinance.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: Pursuant to Rules 68D-21.002, and 68D-21.003, F.A.C., comments regarding this request will be accepted no more than 21 calendar days from the date of publication/distribution of this public notice. Public may provide written comments, recommendations, requests, inquiries, or other correspondence to the Boating and Waterways Section at 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600; or by email at waterway.management@myfwc.com. The Commission will conduct a public hearing within the City of Tampa if a written request for such a hearing is received within 21 days following this notice.

A COPY OF THE APPLICATION CAN BE OBTAINED BY EMAIL (IN PDF FORMAT) OR BY US MAIL. Please submit your request directly to waterway.management@myfwc.com or contact Boating and Waterways Section at (850) 488-5600.