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Long-winded oratory wins another delay

Commissioners will leave Mary's Fish Camp decision to the courts.

Published February 7, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - The "Mouth of the South" showed up at Tuesday's County Commission meeting to voice his support for Mary's Fish Camp - but even he was outtalked by Joe Mason.

Mason, a local attorney famed for his windy orations, won another delay for the beleaguered Mud River camp, which has been fighting off county efforts to see it downsized.

Impervious to the eye-rolling in the audience, and the mutters of, "Here he goes," Mason launched bravely into a legal argument that is also summarized, with Mason's customary aplomb, in a 27-page legal motion filed Monday.

As one observer put it, "You ask him for the time, he builds you a watch."

Asked to sum up his legal strategy, Mason repeated his catchphrase: "They're trying to shoot grampa!"

Mason claims the camp is "grandfathered" and not subject to the county's 1972 zoning laws. The county says that the camp expanded beyond its 1972 boundaries.

There also are disputes over an undated, unsigned map, how many camp sites are allowed and the camp's wastewater treatment.

At issue Tuesday was whether the County Commission had jurisdiction. County attorneys said "yes," Mason said "no," and the County Commission voted 4-1 to postpone until the courts can sort it out.

Owner Kim Perry celebrated the latest delay with much back-slapping affection from supporters wearing "Save Mary's Fish Camp" T-shirts. Asked to comment, he hastened to Mason's side. The Vietnam veteran has lived at Mary's Fish Camp for more than 20 years, and owned it for a decade.

Supporters included pro wrestling manager "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart, who said of the camp, "It was like getting away from every bad thing that ever happened to you and just going back in time."

Asjylyn Loder can be reached at or 352754-6127.

[Last modified February 6, 2007, 21:49:09]

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