26 December 2023

Holiday hiatus - Weekly briefing - December 25, 2023

Essential human-curated Florida Keys news, all in one place. 

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With the expected dearth of hard Florida Keys news upon us, Key West Voices is on hiatus this week. We'll resume next Tuesday, January 2. 

Happy holiday wishes, and thanks for your support. 

Our Eyes

Lynne Bentley-Kemp

19 December 2023

Water and power - Weekly Briefing - December 18, 2023

Essential human-curated Florida Keys news, all in one place. 

Subscribe to Key West Voices for free. See something that should be in Voices? Click here to share it with us.

Our Community

Water and power
FDOT pants on fire? “FDOT is lying to try to cover their ass,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay told Keys Weekly on Dec. 12 upon learning of FDOT's denial of his claim of warning them in advance of a deadly crash on Dec. 5, which was the lead story in last week's Key West Voices.  
BOCC seeks delay, perhaps referendum on new permits. The Monroe County Board of Commissioners met on Dec. 13 and passed a resolution asking the state to delay allocating any new building permits to local governments in the Florida Keys. Commissioner Craig Cates spoke in favor of putting the growth question to voters in a referendum in November.
  • The 30 year lease expires on Dec 31, and there is no new lease in place. Commissioners considered lease terms, the remote possibility that entry to the garage would be roped off on New Year's eve, or even demolition of the 27 year-old structure. 
  • Parking revenue is used to fund Key West transit services. 
  • Keys Energy Services operates under a franchise agreement granted by the City.
Lofts update. More than 50 people attended an informational update meeting Dec. 7 regarding the Lofts at Bahama Village residential development. AH Monroe is developing the affordable housing project. The Lofts at Bahama Village will be 126 townhome-style units of which, 98 will be used as workforce affordable housing by qualified renters. The 28 remaining units eligible for purchase by qualifying buyers are entangled in complicated affordable housing funding requirements arising from state legislation.

Ibis you so much. Mark Hedden shared his thoughts on ibises, and notes that no matter how pleasing the form of their bills, it isn’t about aesthetics, but rather a form that facilitates function

Jackpot. A Key West man won $1 million with a scratch-off lottery ticket purchased at the grocery at Margaret and Caroline. He elected to take his winnings in a lump sum of $640,000. 

KWV Hiatus? Anticipating a dearth of hard Florida Keys news through Christmas, KWV may take a break and skip the Dec. 26 edition. Or not.  

Our Eyes

Anhinga on Big Pine Key 12-14-23. Phil Dodderidge

Previously in Key West Voices

Fatal crash. fatal crash on U.S. 1 at mile marker 21 early Tuesday Dec. 5 involved a semi-trailer truck and no other vehicles. 
Feds question Citizens solvency. Keys Weekly published details and background behind the Federal demand of Gov. DeSantis, Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky and Citizens CEO Tim Cerio to provide documents by Dec. 21 proving the ability of Citizens to remain solvent following future catastrophic weather events.  

Expand cruise ship capacity. Pier B Development Corporation has asked the state of Florida to allow larger cruise ships to dock at its port, Pier B in Key West.

Dredging again? The Citizen reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Navy officials began work on a 'Dredge Readiness Plan' for Key West. In 2013, Key West voters overwhelmingly shot down a referendum that would have allowed the Corps of Engineers to undertake or commission future studies on dredging and/or widening the Key West main ship channel.

Hurricane Evacuation model reportFloridaCommerce released its Florida Keys Hurricane Evacuation Modeling Report by email at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec 8. 
  • Excruciating detail. The report weighs in at 375 pages, but the executive summary states that the report is not intended to provide recommendations for future policy decisions. 
  • Less detail, more clarity. The Miami Herald ran a detailed review of the history, laws, evacuation model, the concept of 'takings,' and the potential consequences of state, county, and municipal decisions that could result in nearly 8,000 additional residential building permits being issued in Monroe County. 
  • Recommendations. At its Dec. 13 meeting, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners is expected to make recommendations (Item L1) on which of five hurricane evacuation options it will pursue as the board attempts to balance provisions for limiting residential and commercial development with how quickly we can evacuate everyone in the Keys before a Category 3 or higher hurricane.
The next BOCC meeting was Dec 13 with an agenda full of prospectively contentious issues, beyond allocation of new building permits. Local advocacy groups are expected to attend and comment.  

Compliance. Monroe County code compliance reported to the BOCC that compliance with sewer connection requirements is almost complete. Two years ago, more than 1,400 properties had not yet connected to centralized sewer systems; today, only a few homes are not connected or have open permits.

Blue Angels. The U.S. Navy released its schedule of upcoming Blue Angels air shows. They are slated to perform at NAS Boca Chica on Mar. 29 and 30, 2025.