MARATHON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES ACQUISITION OF 7 MILE MARINA AND CONSIDERING VACATION RENTALS

Tracking vacation rental violations, the acquisition of the 7 Mile Marina, the unsafe subdivision of rental trailers, and discussing beach and boat ramp parking and launching were the main topics of discussion at the Marathon City Council meeting on December 15.

Following complaints about 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 disposal of “three strokes” of Marathon. Focusing on areas of greatest concern, including Grassy Key, Coco Plum Drive, Sombrero Beach Road and Aviation Blvd., the council reiterated the need to stay on top of violators and promptly cite infractions. “I’m trying to figure out what we can do to better track this,” Bartus said. “What are we doing to track this so that if owners receive a third warning their license will be suspended?”

“We will be aggressively tackling citations,” City Manager George Garrett responded, referring to a more assertive policy as a way to reduce the time between violations and corresponding consequences compared to code board appearances.

“They’ll get a warning, and next time they’ll get a citation,” code director Ted Lozier said. “After three strikes, you are absent for 12 months and you have to go 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, on the western end of Marathon’s Gulf Coast. “We’re going to get the most parking out of it, and we’ll definitely be looking at repairing the docks immediately, putting in channel markers, getting the building back in shape and doing that under the umbrella of our marina and its fundraising.” business,” Garrett said.

“The timing is perfect 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 seawall and the pilings are all in great shape, and we don’t have much to do to make it a really wonderful thing.

Following repeated requests from concerned citizens, Garrett also addressed reports of internally split rental RVs at multiple Keys mobile home parks. “Ultimately it’s a life safety issue, and what we’ve heard about some of these divisions is that there may 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 those reports is largely hampered by the scope of Florida’s building code. “The short version of this one is we consider it a home, but the law considers it a vehicle,” Williams said. “It would be like (building officer) Noe (Martinez) inspecting the inside of a Greyhound bus. We can stop construction if we catch them and tag them red, but once that’s done, we “We can’t do anything about it. Units are initially certified when they leave the factory to comply with rules and regulations, and then we’re stuck with them. It’s beyond difficult to deal with from that perspective.”

Although the two apparently sympathized with the potential issue, Garrett added, “Our ability to come in and cite someone for something that our building manager has no authority over is limited. The building code does not allow this.

Continuing his report from 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 city ​​public boat ramps. Using automated payment terminals, Solis’ initial proposal projected a revenue stream of $1.2 million per year for the city, with an initial capital investment of $187,000 and annual operating expenses of $145,000. .

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

Although exact amounts have yet to be determined, Solis’ plan would impose user fees for parking and boat ramp use for non-residents, while residents would continue to use the facilities free of charge or for a lower annual fee.

Solis answered questions from the council regarding the ability of code enforcement to provide the manpower needed to maintain and enforce the system, but assured the council that its operating expenses included provisions for additional staff. who could also help with applying for vacation rentals when not busy at the ramps and beach.

Solis has been tasked with continuing to develop program details and working to establish potential fees.

In other news:

  • Parks and Recreation Director Paul Davis informed council that the new community park fitness court is expected to complete construction in the coming weeks.
  • With a 4-to-1 vote at its first hearing, with Councilman Trevor Wofsey as the only “no”, the council voted to approve an amendment to Marathon’s building certification ordinance. The amended ordinance limits the recertification process to multi-story buildings only.
  • At its first hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the city charter to increase the term of office of city council members to four years. Longer terms would allow Marathon elections to synchronize with larger state and national elections and increase voter turnout. Bartus raised a brief discussion about shortening a candidate’s mandatory absenteeism 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 feedback from citizens regarding building permits, jet ski tours operating close to shore and subdivided mobile homes, and were thanked for their support of the domestic violence shelter.

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