35 thoughts on “Sunset Marina: Art, Liveaboards and Un”affordable” Housing / Key West Style

  1. A few comments about this video:

    • The developer isn’t pushing the liveaboards out, the code is. And while you insist that the codes must be followed in another part of the story, you ignore the fact that this part of the code has been ignored.

    • Sadler claimed that he wasn’t notified about the hearing, yet admitted in your story that he had had numerous conversations with city staff. If Sadler hadn’t come to the hearing to complain about notice, they probably wouldn’t have “noticed” that the liveaboards shouldn’t be in that marina in the first place.

    • Art In Public Places demands that $120,000 be spent for this project. That sounds like a lot of art. The developer said he was essentially willing to move that into reducing the rents. Ms. Gilbert weighed in on the proposed legal rent limits from her seat on that board—clearly not an art issue. The board uses the “slippery slope” argument, which could mean we will have lots of art, but nowhere to live.

    Everyone must remember that more housing of any kind will lower the rents in the community. It is very difficult to build housing for one group or another, or one price point or another. We just need MORE housing, and fussing over each and every project like this will only delay developing more housing…

    1. A John Miller is the Executive Director of Southern Assistance Homeless League (SHAL), which operates the City of Key West’s overnight homeless shelter (KOTS) across the canal from Sunset Marina. Are you that John Miller, or another John Miller?

      I ask, because a few years ago, Sunset Marina, in which Barton Smith and his parents own substantial financial interests, filed a lawsuit, Barton was their lawyer, to have KOTS closed and moved. A settlement was reached and an agreement signed, that the city would move KOTS in a reasonable period of time. But that time passed and Smith is not pressing to enforce the settlement agreement, to the distress of some Sunset Marina condo owners, I am hearing.

      At the city commission meeting featured in the video, during my citizen comments on the Sunset Marina development item, I asked if there is a backroom agreement: If the development is approved, KOTS won’t have to be moved by the city? My question was not answered by the mayor, any city commissioner, city staff, or Barton Smith.

      Thanks for clearing up which John Miller you are.

    2. So let’s just keep building homes for the rich and force the low income workers to leave the island. Yes building more moderate and high end homes floods the market and yes that in time lowers property values. It also lowers the taxes. But along with increasing housing you increase the need of more low income workers to serve them and they have no place to live. You already are so far overbuilt that there is no chance to evacuate for a major hurricane. Are we being told that 60 slips were being illegally used for years unnoticed ? This is too small of an island to believe they could hide. The city simply looked the other way. Truth is most of them likely do not need a parking space. So why are you only now enforcing this law ? Simple, after the new housing many will want a boat slip and the rent on them will go up. Slow but sure you will have only the very rich living in Key West. The low income people will be homeless or living in very poor conditions in someones attic , shed or a couch. You have managed to remove most of the homeless by creating enough laws to force them to leave. Hope you know where this stupid thinking of just build more will end. Your numbers are screwed up on average income because of the few that make 100 K in Key West. This time your removing 60 homes, few years ago it was 40 trailers on Simonton (take a walk past that disaster). You had 12.5 million that could have created not only housing but 100% LOW income housing. Only way the poor can live in KW is to qualify for section 8.

      My guess is many of the illegal residents are not voting because they can’t risk disclosing where they live.

    3. In response to John Miller:

      1. Through a section of code, the City is currently handing out BPAS units to property owners who have unlawfully created units – even those who have been illegally renting to transients for years — so long as the unit was created and the illegal activity has been going on since prior to a certain date. These slip owners likely qualify for some of those same BPAS “candies” — Certainly the attitude of those in power could have been to show some concern for the liveaboards — even to mention that section of the code that they have all seen within the past couple of months. They did not mention concern for the liveaboards. They could have acknowledged that living aboard has been one of the only working solutions to the affordable housing crisis. They did not. They simply called them “illegal” in the midst of this “crisis” in low-income housing. Because much of the parking is now going to be assigned to the new $2300, $2700, and market rate units [only 7 of the 62 units will rent for less than $1950], these slip owners will have a more difficult time with the process of getting one of those lawful BPAS unit determinations associated with their slip and they will certainly no longer [unless already doing so] be able to rent to commercial vessels – where parking is based on passenger capacity. Via this project their declared lawful use of slips has been limited to storage of pleasure boats. The slip owners will suffer – many are liveaboards themselves — others find their clientele in the liveaboard community. None of this was considered by the staff or the elected officials prior to approving this development and they did not hear from the slip owners – other than Sadler James.

      2. It is not yet clear whether or not the slip owners received proper notice — they may have; what is clear is that the Ast. City Attorney sitting in for City Attorney Shawn Smith [who was on vacation] told everyone in the room that those slip owners had NO RIGHT to receive notice because their property was “in the water column and was not real property”. They pay taxes, they have individual real estate numbers, they park their cars and share ingress and egress with this development – but according to Ron Ramsingh they had no right to be notified of the proceedings.

      3. Whether or not there should be a deduction in the 1% Art in Public Places requirement for “affordable housing” is worth discussing but for now the law says it applies to the entire project and does not exempt the costs of construction of any “affordable” units. Only non-profits receive an exemption. Certainly the actual “affordability” of any exempted units would be relevant to that debate.

      4. The point you make about supply and demand is a good one but it is not relevant to the issue: the City fathers [and mothers] decided to legislate this 30% for low and median-income inclusionary housing requirement. If those sitting on the dais now don’t approve of that legislation they have every right to amend it. What they should not do is pretend to apply it in the convoluted unabashedly bad faith manner in which they did and subject us all to the charade that we witnessed last week that ultimately produced a project – not with the 30% low and median income housing required by law but with a project that will have only 7 low and median income units [11%] and 89% that are capped at either $2322/month [current rate] or $2709/month or whatever the market will bear: Market permitting: 23 at market rate, 18 at $2709, 14 at $2322, and only 7 low and median income. That move is most certainly worthy of reporting on and of discussion.

      1. I own a boat slip on the condo side of Sunset Marina (about 50 ft. from the slips that are in dispute here), and I received at least 4 City of Key West notices about the hearing in my mailbox.

        The word I heard is that Sunset is clearing out all the boats that wouldn’t (or couldn’t) comply with clean water laws. Does the jail side marina have sewage pump out access at every slip? There aren’t any pump out lines on the condo side, and that’s one of the reasons that live aboards aren’t permitted there. Many live jail marina side aboards were pumping their gray and black water waste directly into the harbor. My boat stays in the water all the time. Not too many months ago, there would be a thick layer of poop/pee/garbage generated algae on my boat’s water line after just a couple days. Now, most of the non-compliant jail side condo boats have been removed. The water is much cleaner, and the disgusting green algae is nearly gone.

        I would recommend that people look at two specific items: Is there access to pump out lines from every jail side slip, and what do their condo regulations specifically allow?

        1. I just skimmed through the condo documents for the jail side boat slips. Paragraph 14.8 on page 23 clearly states that slips may only be used for recreational purposes and shall NOT be used for residential purposes. Unless those documents were changed since 1/19/2001, there isn’t anything to dispute.

          Here is the information on where to find the condo documents that were filed with the County Clerk.

          Filed: 1/19/2001
          Document #: 1216064
          Book: 1671
          Page: 1734

          1. Thanks Colby,

            I think you may be missing the point. Condo docs are internal agreements that can be enforced (or not) or amended at will by the members of the condo association. Unless there is a law being broken the government is not involved. You can have a property right but choose not to use it for periods of time.

            Rogos [now called BPAS] were counted up back in the 1980’s when the state mandated that we monitor hurricane evacuation times. Liveaboards were counted. This is still being investigated – but those slips may have been counted as liveaboards back then.

            In any case the fact is people live there on their boats and they have for many years. When these new developments on Stock Island shoo them out it adds to the affordable housing problems that our elected officials have deemed a “crisis” – so much so that the next thing we are going to see on their agenda is allowing height exemptions, density increases, parking variances, etc.

            Your issue with water pollution is easily solved – if it is an issue – by adding a few pipes and pumps to take care of gray water (I assume the black water is taken care of – we have a free pumpout service in Monroe County).

            Our own City rents slips to liveaboards at both marinas that it runs.

            Additionally “cruisers” are not considered “liveaboards” yet they can be there living at the dock and they produce the exact same amount of gray and blackwater as the permanent resident livaboard. So the water pollution problem is not rectified by doing away with “liveaboards” – it needs to be done with infrastructure.

            Our City is currently recognizing and rewarding people with BPAS handouts [exemptions](for boat slips as well as units on land) — as long as the slip or unit was in existence as a residence prior to a certain date. Many of these people getting BPAS handouts [exemptions] have been committing the CRIME of renting their units on a transient basis without a license for years. They are getting transient BPAS recognized because the unit was a transient unit prior to a certain date. The process goes thru no matter how many code violations are associated with the creation or use of the units.

            If the problem our officials are struggling with is lack of affordable housing and we have 50 or so households living in those slips, then our officials should at least address the issue of these families being displaced – simply deeming them “Illegal” in the face of this “crisis” is not a very engaged and holistic way of addressing the “crisis”. And let’s not forget that this new development that will take up all the parking spaces is providing only 7 low and median-income units.

            Remember the cries about the poor “moderate” and “middle-income” families at Peary Court that “might” be displaced if the City didn’t spend MILLIONS “saving them? Liveaboards are typically “low to median income”. Is that why they don’t care? The Judge certainly gave that impression with his comments.

          2. From today’s “Slipping Away” front page Key West Citizen article:

            ~An amendment was made
            to the rules to allow liveaboards,
            according to James,
            but that information could
            not be confirmed at press
            ~“The rules of the ‘dockuminium’
            in the past said
            no liveaboards but that
            was struck down,” James
            said. “We own the ground,
            we own the water column.
            We have set up mortgages,
            so we are property owners,
            pretty simple.”

            As for dumping black and grey water, there are local laws governing that. Have the Sheriff, Florida Fish & Wildlife, KWPD, the Health Department been called in to deal with such dumping? If not, why not? And are not pump out services available? Liveaboards moored off of Wisteria Island have pump out services available to them.

          3. I received a copy of the amendment to the condo docks for the slips [dated July 2015] last night. They removed the term “liveaboard” from the prohibition and are using “Floating Home” as defined by the City. A “Floating Home” includes a vessel that is used “primarily as a dwelling”. So it is prohibited for people to use the vessels or floating structures tied to the slips as a “dwelling”. The City code provides for a penalty of up to $500 fine and or 60 days in jail. If the “Floating Home” has cooking and sleeping facilities it is presumed to be a dwelling as per the City Code. [The vessel owner would have to prove otherwise.] So, what does this do for the legality of even the cruisers that the Marina is trying to attract? The DEP documents mentioned in the Citizen Article defined the prohibited act as living on the vessel for “7 or more consecutive days”. Will “cruisers” [basically floating vacationers] be restricted to 7 days?

          4. Beyond that, if livaboards at Sunset Marina violate local laws, then should not the people who rented slips to those livaboards be prosecuted, fined and/or put in jail? People like, hmmm, the developer Barton Smith and his family, who have financial interests in Sunset Marina and this development?

  2. My friend Brenda in north Georgia called me this morning to report a dream she had last of a man named Bardon driving a speedboat around, running it into larger boats on which people live, and sinking those boats. I told Brenda that is exactly a developer down her named Barton Smith is doing, by making people who live in boats leave where they are docked and go wherever, it doesn’t matter to Barton Smith.

    For years, Smith, and the city government, have let people live on their boats at Sunset Marina. Now they are criminals and must be made to leave, and go where? Key West is a seaport city. Living on boats in a seaport city is a historical given. But only if the city owns the dock and/or the mooring field, and you pay rent to dock or moor your boat there?

    I attended that dreadful city commission meeting. During citizen comments on Barton Smith’s development, I said he is the same lawyer and owner, with his parents, of the Sunset Marina and Condos, who sued the city to have KOTS, the city’s homeless shelter, taken down, and the city agreed in a settlement of that lawsuit to move KOTs somewhere else, but nothing ever happened about that, so far. So is the city commission approving this development quid pro quo for Barton Smith and Sunset Marina agreeing KOTS can stay where it is?

    A friend told me Smith got to looking weird and squirming where he sat behind me, when I said that to the mayor and commissioners. I said I was looking at the mayor and commissioners when I said it. They didn’t seem terribly pleased I had bought it up.

    Nor did they seem pleased with any of my other comments during my 3 minutes on Smith’s development and the city’s complicity in it. Scratch Commission Sam Kaufman from that list. He voted against the development, which, short and sweet, cherry-picked from two sets of city development regulations, to give Smith and his parents the most bank for their bucks, and the least number of affordable rental housing units possible.

    “Affordable housing” should be taken with a grain of salt anytime is said by a developer, a developer’s lawyer or land use adviser, or a city official. As Barton Smith’s development proved yet again, in the wake of the Peary Court howler, developer “affordable housing” is a farce in Key West (and in the Florida Keys).
    During his presentation, Jim Hendrick-trained Barton Smith said school teachers, police officers, fire fighters and rescue workers would live in the “affordable” rental units. It took Sam Kaufman some effort to drag out of Smith what the rents actually would be in $$. Smith kept giving formulas, which mean zilch to 99.9 percent of people living in Key West. In fact, with Kaufman’s help, we learned only top-paid school teachers could afford Smith’s “affordable” rental units.

    Mayor Cates got really mad at Kaufman for opposing the Sunset Key development. We have a developer wanting to build affordable housing using his money, not with any government help, and he is opposed by you (Kaufman).

    The attempt during the commission meeting to raid the Art in Public Places impact fee was stopped, to Mayor Craig Cates’ dismay, by Commissioner Margaret Romero pointing out that waiving impact fees was not on the commission meeting’s printed agenda. Waiving impact fees would have to be properly advertised and brought back before the city commission, which seemed generally agreed on the dais, except for Sam Kaufman.

    Bless his heart, Sam is getting a really fast track education in development trumps everything, even plainly written regulations.

    From what I have been reading in the local newspapers, the Art in Public Places Committee, which is voluntary and is appointed by the mayor and commissioners, is hopping mad (understatement) about the mayor and commissioners, scratch Kaufman from that list, talking like they will waive the Art in Public Places impact fee or this development.

    I heard or read where Mayor Cates said the Art in Public Place impact fee is the public money, and it can be used for what the public wants it used for, regardless of what it’s supposed to be used for.

    Art is really, really important. Without it, any society is soul-dead. Art is the Muse’s expression. The Feminine, if you will. Alas, ever since Genesis, She has not been all that well liked.

    Sloan Bashinsky, write-in candidate for Key West Mayor

  3. After reading the last person’s comments, my blood pressure is soaring. Some people will NEVER get it. There is NO SUCH THING as affordable housing in Key West. And the city does NOTHING to address it. I applaud The Blue Paper for the in-depth article and find the quibbling obfuscating, counter-productive, and mean-spirited.

    1. AFFORDABLE is the key word. If every household earned $100 K by working 40 hour a week jobs then yes $2500 is affordable. But truth is many earn far less than that even after working 60 hours. So AFFORDABLE TO WHO ?

      I think what what is going on is young people move to KW thinking they found the perfect place to live. They arrive with a few thousand dollars and much of it is gone instantly with first , last and security. They can find plenty of HELP WANTED signs on Duval st. And all looks good till rent day arrives. Even if all they rent is a room for $1200 a month they are quickly broke working 60 hours at $10 or $12 an hour. If lucky after 3 months they have enough room on credit card to buy gas to leave.

      Cates is your worst enemy. He only cares about the rich. You need more Kaufman’s that stand up to that runt.

      And before it is over they will find a loophole to allow the illegal slips to become legal. Why not ? They do not need a car. They have bus’s , mopeds.

      Do the people on Sunset Key Island have parking LOL.

      This is nothing more than the BUBBA system. Corrupt deals are made every day and Cate is huge part of it.

  4. ewarner, I’ve been to lots of public “affordable housing” skull sessions; and to lots of city and county commission meetings where “affordable housing” was spun and twisted every way but true; I’ve run for county commission 3 times, and mayor 4 times, before this year. I don’t see any way, even for a King or Queen with power of life and death over their subjects, to rectify the acute-squared-cubed shortage of actually affordable rental housing in Key West (and in the rest of the Florida Keys). Too little buildable land, too expensive buildable land, too many Tallahassee restrictions on new residential construction; too many actual or de facto loopholes in transient rental law enforcement. KW’s last best chance for a big block of actual affordable rental housing was Truman Waterfront, which is going to be a really expensive public park, with no revenue to pay for its construction or ensuing maintenance. The only possible solution I see in the city for affordable rental housing, note, I say possible, and it is not my original idea, is for the city to buy a surplus-ed cruise ship and park it in the city’s harbor, or perhaps up on Stock Island, and connect it to public water, sewer, electricity, police, fire, ambulance, and let the Housing Authority run it. I don’t know how that would really go, of course, but the Housing Authority seems to run a pretty tight ship in Key West. Nor do I know how a cruise ship would fare in a big hurricane, tied up to a pier. Perhaps the engines could be serviced and kept ready to go, and with the engines running a cruise ship might do okay in a big hurricane, if it is moored in somewhat protected body of water.

    1. Actually that is not a bad idea. As far as a hurricane there is no way for 50% or likely a lot higher to be able to leave the keys. Best chance they have is to find a solid 2 story building and legally or illegally occupy it. Who will stop them ? KWPD can not arrest thousands and they will be far too busy with other issues.

      A ship is just another answer to Wisteria Island.

      Curious as to what stops boats from anchoring off of Sunset Key ? The island is private but not the water. I see a great future in water taxi.

      1. Jiminkeywest, it is not a crime to stay during a hurricane; mandatory hurricane evacuation orders are not enforceable against people. Thousands of people in KW don’t even have a way to leave, thely don’t own a car or truck. Perhaps against places of lodging mandatory hurricane evacuation orders are enforceable? I don’t know, but I think the lodging industry complies with such orders, probably to keep their insurance coverage?

        1. Yes exactly my point. Many could not leave if they wanted to.

          It is an interesting question as to could a hotel , motel or bed and breakfast force you to leave ? The liability might be even higher if they force you to leave. Am sure the KWPD would be far too busy to handle it and if they did they become liable. I think at best they would try scare tactics and if you refused to leave your case would likely fail in court.

          Think about the fact that many came by air or boat and your right they can’t leave. Many workers at best have mopeds.

          Any good ideas as to where to seek coverage ? Perhaps the parking garage.

          What would concern me the most is the 100 year old houses. They are not near as strong as they once were.

          What would survive a 5 ?

          And yes thousands would likely die. It is part of the price tag to live in Key West.

  5. And … the crack team at KWTN Knocks another one out of the park.

    I miss Key West but not the dishonest politicians who don’t care enough to put a stop to it.

    Three more Sam Kaufmans is what the Commission needs.

    Love your video work too.

    You’ve earned another contribution from me. Keep up the good work

    Bob Kelly

    1. Been missing seeing you at city commission and other city govt meetings, making people sitting in high places uncomfy, Bob. My friend and my lawyer Sam Kaufman is making them squirm in ways they never dreamed. Because he’s sitting up there on high with them. They can’t shut him up. Limit him to 3 minutes. Stop him from asking city staff and developers pesky questions. I kinda envy Sam, having all that fun (sort of fun). If I were sitting up there with him, oh my, there would be even more serious unhappiness on high. Even more serious unhappiness. Sam’s a quick read, amazing actually. I know where whole lots of bodies are buried. And I have spies in much higher places tattling to me what is really going on, which I can’t see and hear with my own two eyes and ears, or I just ain’t smart enough to figure it out on my own, so they whisper it into my ear, or into a dream, or they send someone to tell me what they know is going on behind the scenes.

      Hope you and the missus are well and enjoying life.

  6. If you buy a condo at a marina chances are you will have a boat and need a slip. That is what this really is about. Was no problem till now because they see a way to make more money. Seems strange that you have so many bed and breakfasts that have no parking. Bars that have no parking. The people on Wisteria and sunset key have no parking. It is stupid to making a big deal out of 1 parking spot per slip when bus’s are available. If problem is sewage then install it.

    Just where do you think 60 boats will end up ? That just means more sewage dumped in the water. Idiots are running your town that have no clue on how to fix the problem. All they do is take away what little low income housing you have and create a need for more. And give away tax payers money to private landlords.

    So now that Key West is maxed out they will start building on Stock Island. Look for more people being pushed out. All your creating is more housing for the rich as second homes. Simply put more housing creates more low income workers. What do you suggest for them. 3 hour bus ride to main land ?

    What would happen if they started checking the boats at Wisteria and demand pumping ? Or do they even care about it.

  7. Thanks Naja,

    I think you may be missing the point.

    The water pollution problem may be easily solved, but who is going to pay for the installation of pipes, pumps and a connection to the sewage system? I doubt if a majority of the slip owners would want to pay a sizeable special assessment plus the additional ongoing maintenance, operating and FKAA costs so that 60 people could remain there. The free pumpout service that you mentioned is supposed to run out of funding in the next year or so. Right? Even if it doesn’t, why haven’t the people there been using it for however long it has already been in existence?

    It doesn’t matter what the city thinks or does. The condo documents will win and ensure that the liveaboards are kicked out. The slip owners signed off on them and had to be aware of those rules when they purchased their slips. Sure, the condo association has been looking the other way for years, but there are always clauses in condo association documents that protect the association.

    By the way, it is interesting to note that there hadn’t been any sale of individual slips in that harbor for years (other than foreclosures), but this year, there were 8 sales in just May and June, and most prices were right at the $100k level. After a slip owner pays taxes, condo fees and a mortgage, the rent they would have to charge on any use of their slip would be well over $1000 a month.

    1. Maybe we are not speaking about the same subject. You seem to have some sort of neighborhood issue over there. I’m talking about affordable housing in Key West in terms of the broader picture. The $100,000 slip IS the affordable housing. People buy the slip, they own a boat, they dock it in the slip and they live there. Or they rent it to a liveabord who owns his/her own boat and they collect $1000 – $1500 a month. Remember the 2 “low-income” units in the new development will rent for $1535 a month [current rates]. As far as pump-out goes my information is that they received a federal grant several years ago, they have pumpout on all docks, and that they are “pump-out approved” as stated on their website. I’m not sure why you keep saying they are not pumping out. The state doesn’t regulate gray water but certainly the dockominium could decide to assess the cost of such an installation [which should not be all that expensive] to the slip owners. Heck, the City could even pay for it. They just agreed to pay $12.5 million to “save” 157 families at moderate and middle-income levels and most of them wanted to spend $55 Million – why couldn’t they spend – what – $50,000 [likely a high estimate] to add some more pipes and pumps for gray water to make it to the sewer system that is already on site and make the situation environmentally friendly and “save” those 60 families on those boats? Remember we have a “crisis” here – according to most residents and especially our elected officials. Why would they want to – if in good faith about this “crisis” – ignore these families and their predicament? They did not address the issue of these families other than to say they shouldn’t be there. Shouldn’t the City do everything possible to make sure the liveaboards are considered legal and to help make sure the required infrastructure to protect the environment is in place? P.S. I expect to have in hand this weekend updated condo docs [from last summer] that show that the rules do allow slip owners to use or rent slips for “liveaboard” purposes. I did find out the docks were built in the late 90’s and so were not in existence prior to ROGO – but the BPAS handouts are going through as long as the units [or slips] have been used as residence since at least April 1, 2010. I’ll let you know if and when I get the updated rules. About parking- still haven’t seen the actual easement language. It may simply be a certain amount of square footage on the lot set aside for slip owners. The parking variance went through without any detail whatsoever in the staff report and – not surprising – the Planning Board did not ask any questions.

      1. This has very little to do with the “affordable housing crisis” discussion which was the focus of the City Commission meeting debate [because the City has all the means necessary to allow slips that have been used as liveaboards since at least April1, 2010 at Sunset Marina to be recognized as ROGO [BPAS] exempt and to become a lawful “floating home”.

        The dockominium can amend it’s condo docs at will and can chose to enforce or not enforce its own regulations.

        Here is what we have on the “liveaboard” question in terms of Sunset Marina dockominium condo docs:

        The most recent amendment to the condo docs [July 2015] says no slips can be used for “Floating Homes” as per City of Key West code definition of “Floating Homes.”

        It’s all about “primary use” as dwelling vs. for transportation. Which raises many questions about cruisers who spend more time dockside than they do navigating – what is the primary use of the vessel? I had thought it was tied to whether or not it was someones “primary residence” but that is not what the code says. Questions that this code language raises: What is the period of time being measured? Is it the lifetime of the vessel? Is it by year? Is it by day? What if my vessel is used to circumnavigate the world for three years and then I dock at a slip at Sunset Marina and don’t move for two years. Is it a “Floating Home”? What if I live on my boat and also use it for day charters that last 8 hours each day? Is it a floating home? Does this definition say that I can both use my vessel “primarily” as a dwelling and “primarily” for transportation? How does that work? Do I have to navigate more than 12 hours a day to be allowed to use it as a dwelling?

        Barton Smith said we had to pull the state statute definition into it which says a “liveaboard” is a vessel used as a permanent residence, but the condo docs no longer use the term “liveaboard” and neither does the City code – so I don’t see why the state statute definition comes into play.

        What about City code… [it says they need BPAS or BPAS exemption]


        Sec. 14-181. – Definition.
        “Floating home means any structure designed to be waterborne and which is used primarily as a dwelling, but not including vessels used primarily as mobile waterborne vessels for transportation.”

        Sec. 14-184. – Certificate of occupancy.
        No floating home shall be occupied as a dwelling unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the chief building official. Cooking and sleeping facilities within a floating home shall be prima facie evidence that it is occupied as a dwelling. The chief building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy when the following conditions are fulfilled:
        Compliance with structural requirements.
        Compliance with minimum housing standards.
        Compliance with moorage requirements.
        Payment of the certificate fee.
        However, a certificate of occupancy shall not be granted unless the planning department issues a determination of eligibility under the city’s rate of growth ordinance (ROGO).

        The initial fee for certification shall be $25.00. The fee for recertification of a floating home moved to another moorage berth shall be $10.00.
        Certification shall be valid until revoked and may be revoked by the building official for violation of the terms of this article.
        (Code 1986, § 31.052; Ord. No. 15-06, § 1, 4-7-2015)

  8. If illegally dumping then the owner of the slip could be fined. And yes for such a minimal cost why would the city not pay the cost to retain 60 low income housing. A slip worth 100 K surely could afford a thousand dollars to bring it to code. Raise the rent 1% to cover it.
    Who in the hell are they trying to fool ?
    This is not about sewage, it is not about parking. It is about building high end rentals and now they need the parking spaces and will get even more rent for the slips from the new tenants they created that want a slip.

    Yep, boot some more low income workers off the island, If they go after all of the illegal housing many will be forced to leave. They were just fine until a more profitable use was found. Thanks for the 20 grand a year you paid for years , NOW GET OUT. KW is turning ugly with greed. Soon 50% of all housing will only be owned by the very rich. Other than for Fantasy Fest we can find far better places to be a tourist at half the cost. You had a fantastic city and HAD is the key word. By the time you learn what you did wrong it will be too late. Tourist will stop coming when service goes away. Very unfriendly attitude to anyone arriving in a car. As a total KW has really gone down hill fast in last few years.

    Smart voters will clean house. Keep Kaufman and boot all the others out.

    Dream about a place called Key West that has no mayor named Cates and a police chief that is respectable. WOW a corruption free fun city. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  9. “KW’s last best chance for a big block of actual affordable rental housing was Truman Waterfront, which is going to be a really expensive public park, with no revenue to pay for its construction or ensuing maintenance.”

    Mr. Bashinsky,

    You must not have read any of my previous posts, as pay-parking lots alone on the Truman Waterfront could bring in anywhere from $450,000 – $950,000 per year revenue to help pay for “ensuing maintenance.”

    1. Ben, there will be pay parking lots on Truman Waterfront? For real? Or that’s what you want to see there?

      I recall some years ago, when Clayton Lopez, I, and others talked of putting paid parking decks on Truman Waterfront, to pay for it. That went nowhere.

      1. Sloan, I don’t know what a “parking deck” is (a flat surface with a central ticket meter?), but there has been only talk about paid parking and it’s a great way to bring in revenue. On occasion I’ll ask a tourist who is parking on the street in the vicinity if they’d be okay with paying for parking at the Waterfront, and they all said they would expect to pay and wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t too expensive.

    2. And while on Truman Waterfront, Ben, do you know if there will be any park benchs in the new park, on which people can sit and relax and just hang out, enjoy the view? Including homeless people, who surely will be there. Thanks.

      1. Sloan, I know you mentioned benches, etc. before, but this hasn’t been a priority subject yet as there are other issues going on now. I read the Master Plan outline some time ago, but don’t remember about the placement of seating throughout the Park. I can find out about this as time goes on. Yes, this seating and sleeping on benches, etc. by the homeless has been mentioned by many citizens – who are concerned about the homeless dominating an area and consequently, when this happens families are “cheated” out of being able to share the benches, etc. That might not sound PC, but it is the way it is, and that combined with a group of homeless who sometimes let out a steady stream of really bad words, does not make for a nice place to visit.

        That said, the homeless do have a good reputation at the State Park, at least that’s what one of the Park Rangers told me.

  10. That 12.5 million you gave away for what I think was an illegal use should and could have been used to build it.

    And the key word to parking fees is COULD not WILL.
    With no money how will you build it ? Dumb ass city government never thinks things out,

    One stupid mistake after another. Locals will ride a bike or walk, so what parking fees ?
    Tourist ? Park to use what ?


      The $12.5 million is a done deal as far as I know – that subject is over except for criticism. It’s over.

      Yes, “parking fees” could bring in much revenue, and I intentionally used “could” because in life there are sometimes “no guarantees.” However, we have a parking problem in Key West, and part of the problem is parking or lack of it. And for instance, if parking on the street is discouraged in the Bahama Village area of the city, then visitors can be lead to the Waterfront and its parking lots, where there is a good chance they will be used.

      “Locals will ride a bike or walk”

      Well, yeah, that’s a good way to cut down on traffic congestion which is a major problem now. Both the city’s Master Plan and my Park Plan incorporates 225 parking spaces within 3 lots. For arguments sake, let’s use just the one 92 space parking lot as an example of “possible” revenue, and base it on 80 spaces being used for a 10 month period of 10 hours per day at a less than premium charge of $2/hr. – Mallory Square, etc. gets $4/hr.:

      80 spaces x $2/hr. = $160 per hour x 10 hours per day = $1,600 per day x 30 days per month = $48,000 per month x 10 months = $480,000 revenue per year – from just one parking lot.

  11. Here is a nice loophole. So they can’t LIVE on the boat. OK fine but are they permitted to have a SECURITY GUARD on board 24 / 7 ? One has a right to protect his own property. Who will be checking to see if that SECURITY person falls asleep ? A cop can not just enter a vessel without the captains permission. As to defining living that is tricky. Many boats have sleeping and eating facilities built in as well as toilet and holding tanks. Is there a new law about eating while on guard duty ? What are the laws on evictions of a leased slip ?

    Yes in the end I know they can be forced to leave but the tenants could make this costly and time consuming. And they also could likely find many code violations and harass the slip owners.

    And one more thing to understand is you just created a major housing shortage for at least 60 people. Guess what that does to other low income housing ? Yep it helps landlords raise rents. The end result is 60 more boats anchored off shore. Wonder who all took another bribe ? Starting to think the fastest way to get rich in Key West is to have a city job such as mayor or city commissioners seat. Hell with the pay when the benefits could be so great. Your chance to fix KW is here. Vote for anyone that runs mayor or commissioner to replace what you have. You already seen what they think of what voter want. They said NO to Peary Rip Off.

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