Sam Kaufman, Key West City Commissioner for District II, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to talk about what’s been going on in the city.
The new City Manager Al Childress has been adding some new procedures to the meetings, some of which will be discussed at tonight’s City Commission meeting.
Kaufman said, “The city manager is bringing some new ideas of how to make our meetings more productive and allow plenty of input from the public. I’m looking forward to seeing how these new procedures work and hearing from the public if there are any concerns and answering any questions that may be out there.”
The noise ordinance will have three separate public meetings in the next few weeks.
A workshop will be held for residents at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3. A workshop 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.
Kaufman said, “I can tell you in my neighborhood in District II, we have concerns about the noise ordinance, so it’s not only an Old Town issue. My district that I’m representing is in New Town and there’s certainly a lot of noise ordinance issues here, so I’m hoping that there are some robust discussions and have some specific proposals, not just the actual regulations, but let’s talk about enforcement.”
Some people in District II live right behind the hotels along North Roosevelt Boulevard.
Kaufman explained, “Especially on the weekends there are pool parties and there are concerts at the new green space, which is great. It’s great to have concerts. The city has received quite a number of complaints from that area in New Town. I know it’s not the same as along Duval Street and Green Street and White Head and back in Old Town, but it is a city-wide issue and I think a big, big issue really is not just the actual level of noise, but how is it enforced? And how is it enforced late in the evening when offices are closed and over the weekend when city hall is closed? I think a big focus needs to be on enforcement.”
The commissioners will talk about Florida Senate Bill 1346, which agreed to an amendment to exclude Key West from the new law that which prohibits local governments from being able to prevent demolition of certain historic projects that are within a half a mile of the coast.
Kaufman said, “For other communities, this new law that will be going into effect may make sense, but Key West certainly avoided a huge catastrophe with that bill and I think we should all be thankful to the sponsors of Senate Bill 1346 that agreed to the exception for the areas of state critical concern, which is of course the Florida Keys. Otherwise all of the historic preservation efforts that the city has undergone for so many decades was at risk. It’s really great news and I hope we can send a thank you letter to the sponsors of that.”
For people looking to rent in Key West, the city has some help with deposits.
Kaufman said, “The city really starting in my experience starting with Hurricane Irma and during COVID especially became more involved with supporting rental assistance with actual dollars. The city has re-started the Move in Assistance Program. So those that are in need, should really look at the city’s website, contact city hall, find out about the Move in Assistance Program, which will help with the security deposit and the last month’s rent for those who are employed in the city. These efforts are critical because we know the move-in costs are extraordinary now.”
Also on the agenda is consideration of going to one meeting a month with morning and possible afternoon sessions.
Kaufman said, “It looks like that will start as a pilot program and again, having public input on that is very important. The idea that the city manager is bringing is that some of the routine business that really is not as much of an interest to the public can be taken care of in the morning and then the same evening session starting at 5 p.m., but it would only be once per month. I think the city manager has ideas about increasing efficiency and productivity.”
For tonight’s agenda, click here: http://keywest.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1100958&GUID=CB26A7A8-EE21-47DB-960F-FFCA54EDC4DD&Options=info|&Search=