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Alabama committee to chart water-access issues

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Feb 24,  2009

The Alabama Waterfront Access Study Committee will meet in Montgomery, Ala., from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. March 3 in the Old Archives Chambers of the state Capitol.

Legislation introduced by Rep. Spencer Collier (R-Irvington) last year created the committee that will examine the loss of diversity of uses along Alabama's waterfronts. After studying waterfront issues, the committee will prepare a report about concerns, research and recommendations to address waterfront-use and water-access issues. The report, due next year, is expected to include information on land-use management and zoning, tax assessment trends for waterfront properties, shoreline development trends and local tax rates.

“This committee will examine the increased demand for water access for recreational, residential, commercial and industrial uses,” said committee Chairman LaDon Swann, director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. “The committee will make recommendations, such as tax strategies, to support diversity on the state’s waterfronts. We will look at methods used in other places to promote survival of water-dependent businesses—from large industry to mom-and-pop shops—and public access to waterways.”

The committee includes representatives from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Working Waterfront Coalition, Alabama Port Authority, commercial and recreational fishing industries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alabama Home Builders Association, Alabama Association of Realtors, marine trades and manufacturing industry, Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, Organized Seafood Association of Alabama, local governments, Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee of the Senate and the Agriculture and Forestry Committee of the House of Representatives. It also includes an economist, a social scientist, House members representing Districts 95 and 105 and Senate members representing Districts 32 and 35.

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