County Commission could make noise over proposed airboat law

In this June 2 file photo, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission invasive plant biologist Ryan Hamm returns to Heagy-Burry Park aboard an airboat after taking water samples from Orange Lake.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.

It's unclear if the Alachua County Commission will vote tonight on a proposed letter of opposition to state legislation that would preempt the airboat curfew voters approved in November 2010.

During their 10 a.m. informal meeting, Commissioner Lee Pinkoson said he would prefer a more “broad” letter that opposed several proposed bills that could erode local home rule.

Pinkoson noted that he did not vote for the curfew when commissioners considered and did not approve an ordinance to establish one in November 2009.

“If we're going to stick our sword in the ground this wouldn't be the one I do it on,” Pinkoson said of the issue.

Pinkoson is expected to be absent for this evening's special meeting, which was originally called to discuss a potential local preference policy for companies bidding on county contracts. Of the three commissioners who would attend, Mike Byerly, who worked with the political action committee that got the curfew on the ballot, and Paula DeLaney support a letter of opposition to the curfew.

DeLaney said it is different than other issues involving home rule because it was put in place directly by the local voters.

Commissioner Susan Baird has said she does not support the curfew or the letter of opposition to the proposed state legislation.

State Sen. Steve Oelrich R- Cross Creek is the Senate sponsor of the legislation. It would exempt all airboats that pass a noise test from any local prohibitions.

The special meeting begins at 5 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 12 S.E. First St.

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