Snake Island on a sunny day can draw dozens of boats, creating a party atmosphere.

The West Coast Inland Navigation District governing board delayed making any decision last week about what to do over new complaints about Snake Island.

The board is a multi-county special taxing body, covering Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties, that funds waterway projects that promote safe navigation in the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway.

Snake Island, long a party spot for local boaters, comes alive on the weekend when boats anchor and turn up the volume.

Charles Hines, who sits on the four-county board as the representative of the Sarasota County Commission, was unable to attend the meeting, so the WCIND board took no action, saying it will rely on Hines to take the lead on what, if anything, to do.

A deputy with Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over the area, said he’s familiar with noise complaints from nearby residents but hasn’t found the noise violates, or even comes close to violating, the decibel level in county ordinances.

He did say, however, the county’s ordinance is “on the high end of reasonable.”

“It’s a relatively loud threshold,” he said.

Justin McBride, WCIND executive director, said the complaints arise from time to time but the WCIND isn’t equipped to handle what has turned into a park. Sarasota County has declined, so far, to accept the island as a gift.

“Everyone’s got one of these,” said Manatee Commissioner Carol Whitmore. “In Manatee County, we have Rat Island. We get it. (Perhaps) Mr. Hines can guide us on this.”

Meetings onlineIn other action, the WCIND board is considering whether to pay a modest amount to make its meetings available online.

It currently makes recordings available upon request, but not through its website.

Charlotte County Commissioner Christopher Constance spoke in favor of putting recordings of meetings online.

“It’s a good practice,” he said. “I don’t want us to be a shadow organization. It would give WCIND the ability to highlight what it does, and link to your folks’ (websites) so people can see what’s going on in the district.

“It’s not publicly accessible. We’ve really truncated all of that (information available online). And it’s a shame. We’d really like to have as much transparency as possible.”

The board agreed to study the idea further.


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