Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Annexation of Wisteria Island

On Monday the City Commission voted to once again table the ordinance that would annex Wisteria Island to their next regularly scheduled meeting, June 5th. The City Attorney advised that consideration of the ordinance at Monday's special meeting might have opened the vote up to a challenge for procedural reasons and differences in state and local ordinances relating to annexations.

Timing of the vote is going to be a factor. Harry Bethel, believed to be a vote FOR annexation is going to be away for June and part of July. Dan Kolhage, another presumed supported will also be away for a shorter period, as will Mark Rossi and Bill Verge, the two votes against annexation at first reading.

The new City Manager ought to have an opportunity to review the ordinance before it's adopted and give his recommendation to the Commission, too. I'm assuming that will be Jim Scholl. (I'll get a link to the Keynoter's article on Monday's meeting as soon as it's up at their site. Coverage by the Key West Citizen has disappeared behind the paid subscription barrier.)

UPDATE: Here's the link to the Keynoter report on the City Manager hiring.


Anonymous said...

I fully agree that the Commission needs to let this simmer for a while. There's really NO RUSH REQUIRED on this, unless you're in the pocket of the folks who own the island. Spend some time contemplating it, figure out how to do the annexation in a way that will really benefit this community (beyond the not especially great tax income that it will ultimately provide).

Valerie said...

It was suggested in today's Citizen's Voice that the community contact the Florida DEP, EPA, and other environmental entities as a means to have the area classified as wetlands, environmentally sensitive, etc. Quite honestly I'm not 100% decided either way on this issue, and I dont' feel I'm educated adequately on the topic to make an intelligent decision either way. Yes the island was created by man-made fill, yes the island now contains 3.2 acres of wetlands per the CES report quoted in the city's Annexation Report, yes the area is used by liveaboards and other boaters in both amenable and reportedly non-amenable ways.

What is very clear is this is a very polarizing issue for the community, and as David Lybrand commented there is no rush. Our town is already grappling with enough swirl, we don't need to add this to the list.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is a tough issue. If I owned the island and had hung onto it this long, I would want an opportunity to profit from it at some point. But as a citizen, I hate to lose a natural area so close to Key West, even if it is a nudist colony occasionally frequented by the Rainbow People.

It would be great if something low density would work out there.

puzzled visitor said...

what was the "flotsamous queen?"

Anonymous said...

our mayor's vision should be honored, when the navy developed our beloved peary court for military housing which seemed needless, the community came together to save our last park and its ball fields and beautiful trees. All cities try to keep a nature reserve/park where residents can commune with nature, relax and remove themselves from the rush of city life (i.e. NYC's central park). If Key West would buy Wisteria Island and managed it as a park, residents could continue boating to the island to enjoy the beautiful trails through the Australian Pines, snorkle the coral habitat which has grown beautifully within the ribs of the Wisterian shipwreck on the western shore of the island, picnic on the beach on the northeast cove, or gather together around a roaring campfire and enjoy the peace of the woods...there is no place in the overgrown and crowded island of key west where residents can sit quietly in nature, far removed from traffic and city lights. Generations of conchs and locals have a Christmastree Island memory from childhood or recent boating excursions, all of which are fond; the only complaint about the harbor island is of the few disrespectful, irresponsible folks who leave there trash a city run park this situation could be managed....Key West doesn't need more resorts or vacation rentals, it's residents need an accessible retreat into the tranquility of nature....May the Bernstein family and our mayor and commissioners go down in history for saving this sanctuary for our grandchildren to enjoy as we have....

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