Miami Beach homeowners and boaters clash over secluded Biscayne Bay waters
By David Smiley
Boaters, beware: Fred Karlton pays a hefty price for his slice of paradise. And armed with a floodlight and stereo, he will defend it.
A well-heeled property investor who dabbles in local politics, Karlton lives on the east bank of Miami Beach’s idyllic Sunset Lake, a secluded section of Biscayne Bay wedged between the main island and four small residential islands just south of the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The quiet body of water is surrounded by some of South Florida’s more lavish homes — such as Karlton’s $6.8 million abode and the house Anna Kournikova listed on the market for $9.4 million — and at sunset is the type of backdrop that graces postcards and lures gawkers to splurge on $30 boat tours.
Not surprisingly, the placid waters have gained a cult reputation among the international boating community as one of the sweeter locations to drop anchor for a few days, or heck, even weeks.
“Very nice spot,” Dave Campbell, of Plymouth, Mass., wrote last year on the boating forum ActiveCaptain.com. “Except for the homeowners.”
Thing is, while recent changes to state law almost entirely stripped local governments of their ability to regulate the navigation of waterways within their jurisdiction — rendering moot laws like the Miami Beach ordinance that caps a boater’s stay in the city’s waters to one week — homeowners on Sunset Lake are making it clear that their waterfront backyards are not a Holiday Inn.
“I’ve been a boater for 35 years and I certainly understand what it is to want to camp out,” Karlton said. “But there are lots of other places to do it than by sitting in peoples’ backyards. There are times that literally it’s a shantytown out here.”
|Fred Karlton's crib.|
|The view from Fred Karlton's pool.|
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