Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bed N' Boat Debate Back On Agenda

Fairhope, Alabama

'Serenity' sailboat

A controversy that began well over a year ago at the city's Fly Creek municipal marina is back on the front burner for Monday's council work session: A request by Brian Injain for a franchise to operate a short-term rental business from his sailboat the 'Serenity' (click) now docked at the northwest end of the city's municipal pier marina.

He advertises the service on the internet and also operates a boat charter business there: 'Serenity Sailing' (click).

Injain tried to operate from the city's Fly Creek marina for a while, but was told current zoning laws prohibited it there; then he moved to the private Fly Creek Marina for a time -- and finally to its current  location at the municipal pier where zoning laws allow it.

He does need a franchise agreement with the city and applied many months ago; but the application has been in limbo since. The city collects 15% of gross revenue from franchises.

The city's Harbor Board conditionally approved it at their October meeting as long as all other legal requirements are met. (see video below)
Councilman Boone (left) 

Apparently the holdup is the requirement to pay state taxes: a requirement not being enforced until last summer, apparently.

At the October meeting Superintendent Gilespie said negotiations were under way about who is responsible for paying the taxes.

Gilespie: "The charter business isn't in question ... a franchise is needed for staying on the boat though."

He said the state also had begun requiring the tax ("water charge") for the city's restaurant building over state waters now leased to Rick Gambino's 'Shux' restaurant; and it is still unclear if Injain will have to pay that as well.

Gambino operates the marina for the city. as required by his lease agreement.

Why the state taxes were not being properly levied before now has not been addressed.


No comments: