The Key West City Commission will meet tomorrow night

December 5 – The agenda is pretty heavy for the Key West City Commission tomorrow night at 5 p.m. in City Hall.

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

Key West had a busy weekend with the Holiday Village, the Belighted Bike Ride and the holiday parade.

Johnston said, “It was a record number of participants in the parade. People are just ready to get outside. They’re ready to have some fun. They’re ready to see their friends again and Saturday night provided a great opportunity for that.”

The celebrations are done yet, though. Festivities continue this week and into next week.

Johnston said, “Last night I had the honor of lighting the Christmas tree at the Woman’s Club. It’s a wonderful event every year.”

City Manager Patti McLaughlin will be retiring and the search for the city manager has been ongoing. It looks like the initial list will be given to the commission on the 15th.

Johnston said, “It’s a great position. It’s a blank slate right now. We’re going to have a new city attorney. We’re going to have a new city manager. In 2024, we have three city commissioners that are termed out, so really it’s an opportunity to come in and start with a blank slate and that’s very exciting. Any new hires that you have brings in new ideas, new techniques, out of the box thinking and for me, it’s just a great opportunity for the city of Key West.”

The city is looking for public input on Mallory Square and Roosevelt Boulevard as well as other projects.

The survey on Mallory Square had a tremendous response.

Johnston said, “We got well over 1,500 for Malory Square. Most of them came from locals – over 1,000 came from locals and about 500 came from people who visit Key West on a frequent basis and go to Mallory Square every night for sunsets. I think that’s one of the concerns of not only our locals, but our visitors, is the fact that we retain our sunset celebration. Believe me, this whole process of improving Mallory Square is built around sunset celebration and making sure that we get to hear and see all of those wonderful entertainers and enjoy sunset.”

There has been a lot of research and discussion with the businesses, the neighbors and the general public.

Johnston said, “I’ll tell you, there’s some great ideas. Our goal is to make sure that you can use Mallory Square from 6 o’clock in the morning until midnight because it’s a wonderful venue.”

A $100,000 grant from FDOT was given to improve the landscaping at the entrance to Key West.

Johnston said, “We thought while we’re improving the landscape, let’s take a look at what we want people to see when they come into the city of Key West. What we’d like to have is something permanent and something beautiful and something that people can pull off the highway, have an opportunity for a photo shoot and get back on the highway so that we can reduce the dangers of people trying to take pictures coming in and out of Key West. There’s been a lot of great ideas.”

The short term rental ordinance will be on the January 4 meeting of the city commission.

Johnston said, “We will revisit that one to see what we want to do, whether we need to scrap it, whether we need to modify it, what exactly we need to do. We do know that we’ve got to do something in the city of Key West in order to increase our housing stock that serves our labor force. That’s a challenge, particularly in this market with housing costs so high and so valuable and private property rights. There’s a lot of moving parts in an ordinance that you need to put forward to achieve that goal.”

In the interim, the city is bringing in software to detect illegal transient and vacation rentals.

Johnston said, “That’s going to help somewhat because if someone is renting illegally, we’re going to go out, we’re going to find them. Hopefully those properties, in some cases, will revert back to long-term rentals. We are going to go after that aggressively. Look for that program the first week in January.”

An engineering study will take a look at the pool to see what can be done with some of the meeting rooms and rest rooms.

Johnston said, “I think this is just an important venue for the city of Key West because it serves the entire community. It’s the only community pool that we have. We’ve got a lot of residents that use it every day. We want to make sure that we’re putting our very best foot forward.”

The next city commission meeting is at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Johnston said, “We would welcome everyone to come and join us because it’s going to be a very heavy agenda. It’s going to be a busy night.”

To see the agenda, click here: