Following up on vacation rental infractions, 7 Mile Marina acquisition, unsafe rental mobile home subdivision and discussion of beach parking and boat launch and boat launch fees water was the main topic of discussion at the Marathon City Council meeting on December 15.

Following complaints on Grassy Key the previous weekend, Marathon Mayor John Bartus began the evening with a discussion of the city’s progress in tracking vacation rental violations against the provision ” three strikes ”of Marathon. Focusing on areas of concern including Grassy Key, Coco Plum Drive, Sombrero Beach Road and Aviation Blvd., the council reiterated the need to stay on top of offenders and quickly cite violations. “I’m trying to figure out what we can do to better follow this,” Bartus said. “What are we doing to track this so that if homeowners get a third warning, their license is suspended?” “

“We will aggressively tackle citations,” replied City Manager George Garrett, referring to more assertive policy as a means of reducing the time between violations and the corresponding consequences in relation to appearances before the Codes Committee.

“They’ll get a warning, and next time they’re going to get a citation,” said code director Ted Lozier. “After three strikes, you are absent for 12 months and you have to appear before the special magistrate.

Later in the meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 7 Mile Marina, also known as Salty’s, at the western end of the Gulf Shore of Marathon. “We’re going to get as much parking as possible out of it, and we’re definitely going to look at fixing the docks immediately, putting in channel markers, refurbishing the building and doing it under the aegis of our marina and its funds.” corporate, ”said Garrett.

“The timing is good with the old 7 Mile Bridge opening early next year,” Bartus replied. “It was really nice to be able to do this tour with you. The building, the sea wall, and the pilings are all in great shape, and we don’t have much to do to make it a truly wonderful thing.

Following repeated inquiries from concerned citizens, Garrett also addressed reports of internally subdivided rental motorhomes at several Keys mobile home parks. “At the end of the day, it’s a personal safety issue, and what we’ve heard about some of these divisions is that there can be limited access from any room to the room. ‘outside,’ he said.

Garrett and city attorney Steve Williams said the city’s ability to act on these reports is largely hampered by the reach of Florida’s building code. “The short version of it is that we think of it as a house, but the law considers it a vehicle,” Williams said. “It would be like (building manager) Noe (Martinez) inspecting the interior of a Greyhound bus. We can stop building if we grab them and label them red, but once it’s done, there’s nothing we can do about it. Units are initially certified when they leave the factory to comply with rules and regulations and then we get stuck with them. It is more than difficult to manage from this point of view.

While both seemed to sympathize with the potential issue, Garrett added, “Our ability to come in and quote someone for something our building manager has no authority over is limited. The building code does not allow this.

Continuing his report on the October meeting, Director of Public Works Carlos Solis provided clarification on a potential plan to implement parking and boat launch fees at Sombrero Beach as well as the three boat launch ramps. to the city’s public water. Using automated pay kiosks, Solis’ initial proposal predicted a revenue stream of $ 1.2 million per year for the city, with an initial investment of $ 187,000 and annual operating expenses of $ 145,000. .

“When I look at our city’s aging infrastructure, for the first few years everything is relatively new and the maintenance is low key. But we are 20 years old and our facilities will need a lot of work, ”said Solis. “We are looking for ways to generate this income without raising property taxes. “

While the exact amounts have not yet been determined, Solis’ plan would impose user fees for parking and use of the boat launch for non-residents, while residents would continue. to use the facilities either free of charge or for a lower annual fee.

Solis responded to questions from the board regarding the code enforcement’s ability to provide the manpower needed to maintain and enforce the system, but assured the board that its operating expenses included provisions for additional staff who could also help in the application of vacation rentals when not busy on the ramps and beach.

Solis was given the direction to continue to develop the finer points of the program and to work to establish potential fees.

In other news:

  • Parks and Recreation Director Paul Davis informed council that the community park’s new fitness field is expected to complete construction in the coming weeks.
  • With a 4-1 vote in its first hearing, with Councilor Trevor Wofsey as the only ‘no’, council voted to approve an amendment to the Marathon Building Certification Ordinance. The amended ordinance restricts the recertification process to include only multi-storey buildings.
  • At its first hearing, council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the city charter to increase the term of office of city council members to four years. The longer terms would allow the Marathon elections to synchronize with larger national and national elections and increase voter turnout. Bartus raised a brief discussion about shortening a candidate’s squeeze-out period from four to two years after two consecutive terms, but the original order for a four-year period was ultimately approved.
  • The council asked Williams to proceed with drafting a new marathon sign ordinance based on an adaptation of the Monroe County code.
  • Council heard from citizens regarding building permits, near shore jet ski tours and subdivided mobile homes, and received thanks for their support of the Domestic Abuse Shelter.

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