CLEARWATER — The city council was expected to hold the first of two readings Wednesday night on changes to two city ordinances, one allowing domestic partners to apply for recreation cards and passes as a family, and the second restricting fishing at the beach.
A propose change that amends the definition of family to include domestic partners when applying for recreation cards and passes to city facilities and sponsored programs was expected to be approved.
To qualify, the applicant must be a registered domestic partner with the city or Pinellas County.
Kevin Dunbar, director of the city’s parks and recreation department, told the council during its Monday work session that the change promotes diversity and is in the best interest of the city.
On June 7, 2012, the city council adopted an ordinance creating a Domestic Partnership Registry to promote diversity and accommodate residents who are not married under Florida law, but who live together in committed, family relationships.
The domestic partnership registry allows unmarried couples to assign certain rights and privileges to their partners, including hospital or other health care facility visits, medical decisions, funeral arrangements, participation in the education of a partner’s child, among others.
In Florida, more than 30 cities and counties have domestic partnership registries, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Pinellas County, Gainesville, Sarasota and Orlando, according to Equality Florida. Florida ranks third in the nation with more than 9 million people living in communities that recognize domestic partnerships, the organization’s website states.
The change to the city’s ordinance will also allow a legal guardian and their children to apply for recreation cards and passes as a family.
Restricted fishing zone at beach
In another item, Dunbar told the council a clarification is needed in an ordinance associated with fishing along Clearwater Beach.
“This is to clarify the restricted fishing areas where bathing or swimming are permitted…and define the locations of public swim areas on the beach,” he said.
Fishing will be restricted along a 1.5 mile stretch of shoreline beginning at Somerset St. south to the jetty near 413 S. Gulfview Blvd.
The change does not affect fishing on the pier at Pier 60 Park. Fishing is still allowed in the designated areas on the pier.
The second reading on both ordinances will take place next month.