Floating display causes stir as it gets go-ahead to cruise along Volusia coast

A new LED display floating along Volusia County’s coast has been making waves.

The 60-foot "pontoon barge" has a 40-foot LED display showing ads to thousands of beachgoers from New Smyrna Beach to Ormond.

Some like county councilwoman Heather Post think it blocks precious ocean views, a place she wants to see free of ads.

"I do not think that any amount of profit for anyone is worth trading that quality of life and that view that Volusia County holds dear," she said. 

Last month, in a 6-1 vote, only Post said no to a special exception to let the display cruise 750 feet from shore, currently the rule in 1,500 feet. 

"My role is to listen to my constituents, and my constituents made it very clear prior to that meeting --- when they started seeing it in the agenda -- that they were not in favor," she explained.

The company behind the display argues it helps promote small businesses. 

"We’re really trying to get the local businesses back on their feet. We want them to be shown. We want the millions of people that go to the beach….to know that there are places to go that they may not know where those places are," said Tim Pulnick, marketing manager of Shark Bite Media. 

Pulnick said they also use the space to promote community messages.

"We also do PSAs, anything for beach patrol....that people need to know along the beach," he said. 

Post said she’s in support of helping small businesses. She just doesn’t think this is the way.

"I absolutely hear that viewpoint but again I don’t think that the return on investment is worth trading that quality of life," she said. 

The County Council allowed the display to cruise until December. At that time, they’ll determine its future.

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