CORAL SPRINGS, FL – After years of saving, Katie Ciliberto and her husband bought a fishing boat late last year, so they could take their young Coral Springs family out on the water.

They’ve spent every weekend going fishing in the ocean, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway, and seeing the canals of Broward County.

“This is such a great escape, especially now in the pandemic,” Ciliberto said.

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But earlier this year, the 20-foot boat that her family kept on the side of their house (behind a wooden fence) caught the eye of a city inspector after getting an anonymous complaint.

The family was warned that their boat couldn’t be stored there anymore, Ciliberto said.

Coral Springs requires boats to be kept in garages or under carports, she said.

Ciliberto’s boat won’t fit in the garage (the center console is too high), so her family would have to build a carport or rent a place to store the boat – options that are too expensive, she said.

So Ciliberto decided this month to ask Coral Springs to change city rules on boat storage, and she reached out to city commissioners for their support.

“I’ve spoken to other residents who want to own a smaller vessel on their property, so they too can enjoy the splendor of South Florida,” she said.

Specifically, Ciliberto hopes the city will consider allowing smaller boats (those less than 23-feet) to be stored in residential backyards or sides of houses with opaque fencing or walls on three sides.

Commissioners Joy Carter and Nancy Metayer and Mayor Scott Brook said this week they are open to the idea of examining city rules related to the storage of boats on private properties and determining if they need to be updated.

They agreed to discuss the issue further in an upcoming meeting.

“How can we accommodate those who can’t afford the storage space, but it’s small enough not to be a nuisance to everyone else?” Metayer said.

City administration officials couldn’t be reached Thursday to comment on Ciliberto’s warning and explain in more detail the city’s rules on boat storage.

For Ciliberto, 35, who is a teacher but is now a stay-at-home mom with two daughters, her family’s boat isn’t just a recreational tool.

It’s also a symbol of how hard she and her husband, an electrical contractor, have worked to save up for something they have long wanted, she said.

“I don’t want to sell this boat. We love it,” she said. “All I’m asking for is a small modification of the ordinance.”

 

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