Let’s Make a Difference!
News from the Islamorada Community Alliance
May 15, 2023
Sue Miller, Editor
Our Website: ISLAMORADA.ORG
So much to learn:
Here’s what we’re covering:
The Fills -Workshop this week
Planning Challenges ahead
Village Committees - apply now
State of the Village coming soon
The Keys - 2000 edition
Village Schedule remainder of this Month
Click here to see most recent Village calendar and agendas when available)
May 15, 5:00 pm: Achievable Housing Committee
May 16, 6 pm: Public Workshop on Fills
May 18, 5:30 pm: Special Call Council Land Use Meeting
May 25, 5:30 pm: Regular Village Council Meeting
There’s a Very Special Place in Islamorada:
Probably the most beautiful location in the entire Village. Where we see glimpses of azure blue ocean, magnificent sunrises each morning, the historic island of Indian Key. And from the same spot, look the other direction. See the beauty of the waters of Florida Bay, dotted with islands, fishing flats and wading birds. Nowhere are the sunsets more spectacular.
It is the Fills!
Let’s never forget: Total chaos, trash and safety concerns of the past!
On June 26, 2019: Then Vice Mayor Mike Forster negotiated a deal with FDOT. They agreed to give control of the Fills to Islamorada, after a very chaotic 2019 Memorial Day weekend. And leases were signed with both FDOT and FDEP. Now it has been nearly 4 years! We need to finally make a decision to assure we protect and enhance this scenic Islamorada location. Click here to read more.
“The Fills” Community Workshop - Please Attend!
Tuesday May 16, at 6 pm
Founders Park, Community Center
Be a Voice in the Decision Making
SPREAD THE WORD
Transparency: Provide full planning application files on the Village website when processing planning application. No last minute surprises for residents when hearings are in the Village agenda for major conditional uses, variances, TDR transfers, etc.
Involve the public from the beginning: It builds trust and support for decisions.
The Monroe County Planning website provides 10 planning application categories followed by links to the active application files, listed by applicant name and date.
Click here to see what Monroe County does. We should do the same!
Do you have a suggestion for the Council? Send us an email: ICA.In.Keys@gmail.com
Click here to see our previous suggestions.
Development Services Director
Managing growth and protecting the fragile local environment while dealing with property rights! How lucky are we to have an outstanding planning department to guide the Village. The end of BPAS is upon us. Appropriate changes to our regulations are crucial.
Let’s work on solutions: workforce housing, traffic, our environment, our infrastructure. We can join together to help assure a sustainable future.
Surveys are coming! Workshops are planned. Regulations are being amended.
It’s our future! Your voice is critical. Speak up, show up, get involved.
Traffic, Traffic, Traffic
There is road construction as FDOT works on elevating the road near Sea Oats Beach, alternating lanes of traffic at times. Up to 3 months more to go.
FKAA is laying a new main water line under the southbound lane of U.S. One. Up to 1 year on Upper Matecumbe alone, then the other islands of Islamorada, all of the Florida Keys, and the 18-mile Stretch. Decades of work anticipated!
Leaks in the old water line has caused huge highway congestion several times in recent months… and expect the possibility of more. Deteriorating metal pipe.
Will the draw bridge be replaced? Planning underway!
The local governments continue to approve new residential and commercial redevelopment projects adding significant numbers of trips to the highway.
The Tourist Development Council is expected to spend well over $50 million to attract tourists to the Keys this year. And the number goes up each year.
Is it any wonder… The tourist bed tax county wide is down 10% the five months since September 30, 2022, over the same months last year. Is the goose that laid the golden eggs on life support?
Reminder - apply now for a Village Committee: The council recently voted to change the way all committee members are selected. Whether you are currently serving or would like to - everyone must complete an application.
Click here to select a committee and apply. Each resident brings diverse skills and talents, new perspectives. Get involved. It is a rewarding experience.
Freebee: What’s the Status? According to our research, the current contract with Freebee ends June 30, 2023.The cost to Village taxpayers: $342,504 annually or $28,542/month for 2 Teslas and 1 XL Van. Starting July 1, 2023 the Village qualified for a grant from FDOT to cover 50% of the cost for upgraded service. New service: $553,300, July 2023-June 2024.
No contract with Freebee signed yet for year starting July 1, 2023. And we must apply for an FDOT grant this month for July 2024 or the entire future cost would be paid by Village taxpayers. A second Tesla was to replace a van to reduce time offline for charging.
The question: Is “free” transportation by Freebee a good buy for taxpayers and the best service for the money?
Coming soon: Special monthly videos, “State of the Village” with Mayor Buddy Pinder. Go to Islamorada Social to see these and other videos about the Village and our local government.
Do you remember the Islamorada of 2000?
In 1936 the great travel writer Eugene Fodor wrote the first modern travel guidebook. He wrote all 1200 pages himself. Since that first travel book, Fodor’s has been a trusted name in travel guides. Newsweek description: “The King of Guidebooks”
South Florida Fodor’s 2000 was published shortly after Islamorada incorporated.
This is what Fodor’s said about the Keys nearly 25 years ago:
“The Florida Keys are a wilderness of flowering jungles and shimmering seas, a jade necklace of mangrove-fringed islands dangling toward the tropics. The Florida Keys are also a 110-mile traffic jam lined with garish billboards, hamburger stands, shopping centers, motels, and trailer courts. A river of tourist traffic gushes along U.S. 1, the main artery between Key Largo and Key West. Residents of Monroe County live by diverting the river’s flow of green dollars to their own pockets.
In the process, the fragile beauty of the Keys - or at least the 45 that are inhabited and linked to the mainland by 43 bridges - has paid an environmental price.”
When we incorporated in 1998, residents knew how extraordinary Islamorada was. The goal of incorporation was to make decisions that would protect and enhance what we loved about Islamorada. Click here: Read Islamorada’s Mission Statement.
Have we done all we can in the 25 years since we incorporated?
We all have distinctive ideas, knowledge, and a unique perspective. While a single voice may be overlooked, many voices will have an impact.
One more voice could make the difference!
Make it yours.
Share our newsletters with your friends. Let’s explore ideas that will make our community better.
We’d love to add you to our distribution list. Send us an email at ICA.in.Keys@gmail.com
Let us know how you feel about the things that impact our lives. We’d love to hear your ideas.
Your financial support of the Islamorada Community Alliances efforts is greatly appreciated! As a 501c3, your donation is tax deductible.
Go to Islamorada.org/donate
or send a check:
Islamorada Community Alliance
P. O. Box 1507
Tavernier, FL 33070