Town council reviews boat storage

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, May 19, 2022

     The Town of Miami Lakes is considering whether municipal code that regulates boat storage on residential properties is being fairly applied to all residents.

     Currently, watercraft storage is limited to inside garages with the door closed.

     However, about 100 property owners who had vessels at incorporation in 2000 and registered with the town prior to Jan. 18,  2005 are considered to have legal, nonconforming structures and are allowed to keep boats on properties.

     Temporary boat parking is permitted for less than 24 hours in front of a house or on a side street to allow an owner to clean, load or unload while the boat is hitched to a vehicle. 

     Boats aren’t allowed on swales or sidewalks. Maintenance and repairs are not permitted outside of a garage.

     Mayor Manny Cid and Councilmembers Luis Collazo and Josh Dieguez discussed previous attempts to get a dry boat storage facility in town. 

     “We’re still pending that boat storage, who knows if it’s ever going to happen, it looks like it probably won’t,” Cid said during the May 10 council meeting.

     Councilman Luis Collazo said he would love to keep his boat at his house but he lives in Miami Lakes and chooses to reside in town “because of a certain standard.” 

     Collazo said he understood concerns of fairness expressed by boat owners at the meeting who said they couldn’t store a boat on their properties, but the councilman said they were not the problem. 

     “It’s the irresponsible boat owner that’s doing the maintenance, that’s changing their oil, that’s doing the service on the engine, that’s flushing it out on a Sunday morning when people are trying to sleep,” Collazo said.  “Sometimes cleaning fish in the parking lot and then we have to deal with that smell tomorrow.”

      Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez said there is a happy medium to find, and that he did not want to see large boats peeking over fences or in front yards. 

       Homeowner associations regulate boat storage in their communities and a code change would not apply to them.

      Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano was against changing the code or asking staff to investigate that, and said there was a two class system with boats allowed in one section of town and not in another.

     “I feel like we’re going to create more havoc than we’re going to fix,” Ruano said.

      She joined Collazo in opposing a  resolution which the council ultimately passed, to ask town staff to work with the Planning & Zoning Board to find solutions for hitched boats that extend past driveways, whether storage of boats behind and alongside homes should be allowed in more places in town and other issues that in some cases can lead to citations.