Cruise ships and the noise ordinance are up for discussion in Key West

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s happening in the city.

The Navy’s newest guided missile destroyer will be commissioned in Key West on May 13. The commissioning of the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will bring a number of people to town and events are planned throughout the week.

Johnston said, “What an honor it is for the city of Key West again to be commissioning a ship.”

A special meeting of the City Commission will happen tomorrow 5 p.m. in City Hall.

It looks like cruise ships are back on the docket.

Johnston said, “They’re asking to extend their submerged land lease. It’s not the first time that they have made that request and every, single time it has been objected to by the US Navy because of complications with entry into the port of Key West.”

This request to extend the length of footage for cruise ships in the lease will be discussed tomorrow at the special meeting.

Johnston explained, “The intent, as far as we know, is to bring in larger ships at Pier B and you know what the city of Key West and the residents feel about that. So in order to represent our residents we need to understand the issue and take action on the issue.”

When violations of the leases for cruise ships occur, it can create issues in the port of Key West.

Johnston said, “It creates a critical condition in the harbor with military vessels entering and leaving and also we have a high level of security issues because we are host to three military installations here in the city of Key West. We have security issues I think that many people do not contend with. We certainly need to abide by those and honor them.”

Public comment will also be heard tomorrow night. The meeting can be viewed in person, on Zoom or on Channel 77.

Johnston said, “Join us whatever way you can because this is a very important issue to the residents of Key West.”

Water quality may also play a part in the discussion.

Johnston said, “It’s an issue that I think people are really becoming aware of. It’s an issue that when we do the water quality testing it’s going to allow us to find the source of the pollutants and then work with whatever is causing those pollutants to eliminate that because clean water is becoming more and more and more of an issue, particularly in the Florida Keys.”

In fact, Johnston was asked to speak at a resiliency conference in Tampa Bay last week. Four mayors from coastal communities were asked to discuss how living on the coast and being a tourist destination impacts the resiliency efforts of the cities.

Johnston said, “We had a fascinating conversation. There were about 350 people there from around the state. The conversation really geared around that sooner or later there are going to be areas that we should not be building on and as you can expect, those areas are the most popular areas and the most sought after areas which are areas right on the water.”

The noise ordinance may also have another look soon.

Johnston said, “It’s been nine years since we created the noise ordinance and our decibel levels. Things have changed since then. We have more residents in the city of Key West. Our complaints come a lot of times from mixed use areas. Areas where we’ve got a business in the middle of residential neighborhoods. Basically it comes down to everyone in the city of Key West who owns a home should be able to enjoy that home without jarring, raucous noise and that’s what we’re taking a look at.”

Workshops for the noise ordinance will be held for businesses at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 15. A workshop for both residents and businesses will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24.

Johnston said, “We will come away with a very strong sense of what we need to do.”

For tomorrow night’s special meeting’s agenda, click here:|&Search=