Although Venice has by far the highest number of disoriented sea turtle hatchlings in Sarasota County, a proposal designed to help them reach the Gulf of Mexico safely faced stiff opposition from beachfront property owners Thursday.
Several speakers criticized a proposed ordinance designed to limit artificial lighting along Venice’s beaches, calling it an unfair and costly burden. Artificial lights are the main reason newly hatched sea turtles wander off course, instead of toward the Gulf.
The ordinance would have restricted lighting cast on the beach to 25 watts or less, required shielding interior lighting and prohibited artificial light from areas seaward of the frontal dunes.
The Venice Environmental Task Force held a special meeting to listen to public input on stiffer sea turtle protections. City engineer Kathleen Weeden said the ordinance would be amended to take resident concerns into consideration before it is submitted to the City Council. The ordinance had been on schedule for the council on May 1.
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