Neighbors defeat Crystal Beach land request - WFLA News Channel 8

Neighbors defeat Crystal Beach land request

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

After weeks of petitions, signs, and meetings, the controversy over a small strip of public land along the waterfront in Crystal Beach is over.

Pinellas County Commissioners denied a request by homeowner Glenn Bergoffen for a strip of public land so that he could build a private dock in front of his home.

During today's public hearing, Todd Pressman, Bergoffen's representative, argued the case for building a private dock, saying other boat owners just anchor their boats without permits in public waters and do more environmental damage. He also pointed out other docks in the area,"There are docks in the area that no one has complained about or been a problem."

In order to get a permit for the dock, Bergoffen must own the land that touches the water. He asked the county to give him a 6-feet wide-by-90 feet long strip of public land, with an easement so the public would have continued access.

The strip is part of a 3/4 mile long public park along the waterfront.

But more than 30 of his neighbors in Crystal Beach turned out to speak against it.

"The park was designated for all people all the time. It's known as the front yard of Crystal Beach," said Linda Henry, who opposes the dock.

"I object strongly to this dock. It is an environmental problem," said William Falls.

After two hours, the commissioners made their unanimous decision. They denied Bergoffen's second attempt for the dock in five years.

"I'm so glad so many people from Crystal Beach come out. Not only did we defeat this and they said no, but we got the movement to preserve the land for the future," said Lisa Roe, referring to several commissioners who expressed an interested in permanently protecting the land so that the issue would arise again in the future.

Afterwards, Bergoffen didn't want to comment on camera.

Several neighbors did approach him to shake hands and make peace.

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