MILTON — The Santa Rosa County Zoning Board has recommended that the Board of County Commissioners reject a proposal to build a commercial fishing pier at the 7200 block of Morrell Road along the Blackwater River in Milton.
In two weeks, the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners will make a final decision on the matter.
Tara and Nathan Peaden requested a conditional use to operate a commercial fishery in this residential area, according to Santa Rosa County Planning and Zoning Director Beckie Cato.
“All that’s going to happen is a boat will pull up to the dock. An electric pump unit will take the fish from the hold, pump it into iced down containers that will be sealed, put into a refrigerated truck, closed up and driven away, and the truck is not a semi truck. It won’t tear up the road. It’s a 40-foot truck. That’s just over half the size of a semi,” said Ryan Hatler, attorney for the Peadens.
Wastewater, called effluent, from such an operation, could attract more alligators to the area, said Gary Woods, who lives down the river from this location.
“The river is completely devoted to recreation … like the Milton boat dock,” Woods said. “This facility is going to put out odor and, of course, the river has alligators in it and if they rinse this stuff into the river, it would likely excite the alligators."
This operation wouldn’t have any such runoff, according to Hatler. Water would go back into a hold on the boat and wouldn’t go back out again until the ship makes another trip for fish in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fish would come fresh, straight from the hold, into iced containers, reducing odor, according to Hatler.
“There is absolutely no processing of fish proposed for this use at all,” Hatler said.
Still, the Planning and Zoning staff anticipate the proposed use would adversely affect other properties in the area, according to Cato.