Jul 042018

By Amber Nolan

On Tuesday, July 3, the Key West City Commission met to vote on issues like adding metered parking on Simonton Street and reducing workforce housing rental caps, but they also addressed the overnight homeless shelter and increasing rates to cruise ships that dock in Key West.

The Affordable Housing Amendment Passes

The much anticipated, Land Development Regulation text amendment that would reduce the workforce housing rental caps from 30% of the household’s income level category to 25% of those income levels, passed unanimously. Today, a one-bedroom at the affordable low-income level is $1,411/month. Under the new 25% formula, it would be reduced to $1,176/month. The change would only apply to future deed-restricted affordable housing units. See the current rental caps here and the proposed here.

Request to Extend KOTS Deadline

The deadline to continue operating the homeless shelter in its current location on Stock Island is October, but City Manager Jim Scholl says he plans on asking the Board of County Commissioners for an extension while they determine a location for KOTS.

We still have options but we won’t have them anywhere near ready to go in time for the expiration of our limit with the County Commission.”

Cruise Ship Rates May Be Increasing

A financial impact study was conducted on the rates the cruise ships are being charged to come to Key West, and the city is considering raising them.

“We will have a meeting later this month with the cruise ship industry representatives and with our ships’ agent Carib Nautical to discuss increasing the rates,” said Jim Scholl. “Our rates haven’t been adjusted in years and our expenses have gone up significantly.”

Metered Parking Spaces on Simonton Street Will Move Forward

The commission voted on rescinding an authorization to add approximately 15-17 metered parking spaces at the 100 block of Simonton Street. Concerns about impeding traffic in an already congested area conflicted with the need for additional parking in Old Town. Commissioner Romero stated that she had received complaints from local businesses about individuals parking their vehicles there for one or two days at a time, and emphasized a need for more parking enforcement.

The motion to rescind the authorization failed after reaching a tie vote with commissioners Romero, Kaufman, and Weekley voting “no” and Lopez, Paine, and Wardlow voting “yes.” In the event of a tie, the motion fails so the new parking meter installation will move forward.

Proposal for 80 New Residential Units at Oceanwalk Postponed Again

The proposal to build 80 new residential units in the Oceanwalk community has been postponed yet again at second reading after the planning consultant, Jim Hendrick, requested more time to iron out some issues with neighboring condo associations.

Oceanwalk is an existing residential apartment community consisting of 296 residential dwelling units at 3900 Roosevelt Blvd. The proposal would add two new buildings with 56 new market rate residential units and 24 new affordable units.

The proposed development site at Oceanwalk is tucked in the back of existing condominium buildings, and is accessed by one main, two-way road that several condominium associations (as well as the DoubleTree Hotel) share. During the June 19 City Commission meeting, concerns were raised about potentially adding 190 additional vehicles to the area causing congestion, and how emergency vehicles would be able to get through. Another issue was the question of who would bear the cost of maintaining the road that the condominiums shared.

“I’m just concerned that we do not have a solution to the traffic problem out there,” said Commissioner Payne at the June 19 meeting. “If this is not possible to work out something with the two other developments out there, then we should probably deny this application.”

Instead of denying it, the commission moved to postpone until July 3rd to allow more time for the developer to work it out.

After yesterday’s additional delay, the proposal is now set to be heard at the September 5 City Commission meeting.

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Amber Nolan
Amber Nolan is a restless travel writer who calls Key West home. Her work has appeared on USA Today, About.com, Cruise Critic, Frommers, and several other travel publications. Amber’s most unusual project involved hitchhiking on small airplanes to 49 states, during which time she spent two years on the road, or rather, “on the skyways.” She is currently working on a book that documents the unusual journey and provides insight into the aviation community. Before getting into travel writing, Amber worked for an activist, investigative newspaper in London, so joining forces with the Blue Paper allows her to go back to her muckraking roots. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism.
 July 4, 2018  Posted by at 1:00 pm Amber Nolan, News  Add comments

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