ARCADIA, Fla. - Time is ticking for houseboat owners along the Peace River to find a new place to drop anchor. They've been told they are trespassing on state land, but now it seems, they might not have to go that far.
Bill Yarley's houseboat has got to go. It's been anchored to a small island on the Peace River for two years, but the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says he's trespassing on state land.
"They told me that i had to be out of here in 2 weeks as posted on the notice," Yarley said. I asked them where I could go, what I could do, and they said that was my problem."
But maybe the problem isn't as bad as he thought. DEP officials now tell WINK News the houseboats can remain on the river. They just can't stay in one spot for too long.
"If you want to camp overnight on state land, you can do that," says Bob Ballard, State DEP Deputy Secretary of Land and Recreation. "It's the permanence of this camp that was set up that is not allowed."
The DEP state lands are for everyone to enjoy, including Yarley.
"As long as he has the proper pump out and Coast Guard-approved equipment, he can stay on the Peace River forever," Ballard said.
That's good news for Yarley, who says he has the required equipment. But this is still one ordeal he'll never forget.
"The law says that's legal. But they could have come out and asked me and just told me 'Look, we're going to start enforcing this rule."Yarley"If they want their property back, that's fine," says
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