monroe county public land giveaway

INVESTIGATION: How the County Gave Away the Last Bit of Public Waterfront on Stock Island

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…

Once again the issue of public access to the ocean has pinned some Florida Keys residents against developers and the public officials they lobby.

With a promise to build affordable housing on Wreckers Cay’s now vacant trailer parks on Stock Island the private equity firm of Lubert-Adler asked the county to donate the end blocks of two roads which have been used for years as public waterfront access.

County officials do recognize the importance of public access to the water, the law clearly protects it. But the hope for 280 new affordable housing units seems to have taken precedence.

We’ve been following a group of Stock Island residents who argue that the laws protecting public access to the ocean should apply throughout the Keys, even in working class neighborhoods like Stock Island, and even if the business community needs more housing to staff its new hotels…

[Note: Those segments of the video below showing people in close proximity without masks were captured prior to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.]




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3 thoughts on “INVESTIGATION: How the County Gave Away the Last Bit of Public Waterfront on Stock Island

  1. The Keys government corruption knows no bounds. And there are plenty of non-governmental “bubbas” and lawyers complicit in the corruption, not to mention the eager enforcers dressed as cops. You can also bet that the housing will not be anything even close to “affordable.” Government in the Keys exists primarily to take from the citizens and give to the developers (and the government official’s friends, family, and business associates). The whole system is corrupt, disgusting, and despicable. It is sickening!

  2. I believe Monroe County also abandoned the east waterfront end 2nd Street on Stock Island to the benefit of Boyds Campground. It used to offer public access to water now it is gated closed all the time. One of the hardest things to get on this island chain is water access. Key West has “No Mooring” signs of every inch of shoreline, even on Simonton Beach which is a traditional dingy landing. It is a municipal class warfare.

    1. Yes they did – same trick — first “closing” (fencing off) the street due to “crime and trash” and then officially abandoning to Boyds (in 2005). The County Comp Plan says no abandoning roadways that provide waterfront access. County attorneys didn’t tell the public back then either that the filled-in land that had been added to the east of the original paved roadway after the road was dedicated became, by law, a part of the public easement stretching to the water. Just like with Laurel and McDonald Aves – they all – with straight faces – claimed it was “owned” by Boyds so there wasn’t really any “lawful” public waterfront access – even though they “knew or should have known” that was FALSE – they “knew or should have known” that the state had disclaimed that filled-in land to the County through a Florida Statute, and that Boyds could only get the DEP to give Boyds a disclaimer certificate for the filled-in land to the east of the paved roadway AFTER the County abandoned the roadway. Looks like this successful trick is catching on: Did you see what Spottswood is doing over at the Marriott Beachside: That’s still pending. The fence is still standing and FDOT, DEP and the City have been postponing any action for all these months. There’s a City code case…

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