Marathon Politics: Council Continues to Address Derelict Properties

Marathon Politics: Council Continues to Address Derelict Properties

An abandoned trailer on Louisa Street, in close proximity to Grace Jones Daycare Center, came across the city council’s radar Tuesday morning amidst discussions regarding the growing number of derelict properties that dot the Marathon landscape.

Vice Mayor Mike Cinque, after hearing Fire Chief William Wagner III explain that local fire rescue crews had used the derelict structure for training exercises, quickly cautioned against the liability for the city.

“I can’t believe our own crews did that and left it in such a state,” Cinque reprimanded. “We need to get that taken care of.”

Before the conclusion of Tuesday morning’s agenda workshop, two fire rescue vehicles were on site to tape off the structure and restrict access until a council vote could be taken later in the evening to waive normal policy and raze the trailer as soon as possible.

The motion came on the heels of continuing discussions about blighted properties along U.S. 1. Eyesores like the former Quay, Longhorn Lodge, and Handley properties have seen little activity in as many years, and the chain link fences that surround them do little for the council and its committee’s efforts to address beautification concerns.

George Garrett said he’d been in contact with iStar Financial, the institution that controls funding for the Key Colony Bay Development project adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express on the eastern end of Marathon. iStar, according to Garrett, is currently in the process of obtaining the property through receivership within the court system.

“It is clear from my conversations with Mr. Michael Dorsch at iStar Financial that iStar Financial intends to provide sound stewardship for the property in the eyes of the community,” Garrett’s memo to the council stated. “The grounds are not currently in great shape, but weeds from along the front fences have been removed and the Peebles Corporation banner signs have been removed from the front fencing on U.S. Highway 1.”

His memo continued that as vagrants may have recently begun inhabiting the property, possibly deteriorating internal conditions would be addressed in August when iStar will be appointed a receiver for the property.

Temporary, chain-link fences around both the Quay and Longhorn Lodge (Serenity Cove) properties are currently under investigation by city staff. Garrett reported that concerning the Quay, Planning Department staff plans to contact the owner of the property to request either removal of the existing fence or improvement so it meets standards established by the city’s Land Development Regulations.

The owner of the Longhorn Lodge (Serenity Cove) property on the northeast side of Vaca Cut, Garrett explained, has discussed re-initiating its Serenity Cove redevelopment project.

Regarding the run-down building at 1470 Overseas Hwy. also known as the Handley’s property, building official Ron Wampler reported to the council that a notice will be issued to the through the Unsafe Structures Board at the end of this month.

Councilman Pete Worthington requested the Aloha Motel and Trailer Park adjacent to the Sea Grape and The Wooden Spoon also be added to the list of properties that should be examined and addressed through the code and building departments.

In other business:• Emergency Management Director Lisa Watson reported to council that the city coordinated an oil cleanup response training on July 9. The training, City Manager Roger Hernstadt reported, has been funded to date by BP, so the city has not yet used reserve funds to cover that cost as was initially proposed. To date, Watson said 36 people in Marathon are properly trained for oil cleanup response, 20 are on the list for the next class, and 16 more are in process. If anyone would like to become a member of the City of Marathon’s Volunteer Clean-Up Force, please contact Capt. Watson at (305) 743-5266 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

• Luis Gonzalez reported to the council on the Parks and Recreation committee’s latest meetings and events. Gonzalez pledged on behalf of the committee that they planned to become more involved with the bi-weekly meetings. One of the committee’s goals, he pledged, is to try to expand the number of events at the Community Park’s amphitheater for both residents and visitors.

“We’re discussing some ideas with a gentleman on the mainland who coordinates such events and hope to have some good ideas in the future,” he told the council.

Gonzalez mentioned the committee’s discussion of a digital marquee on U.S. 1 in front of the Community Park to help keep everyone aware of daily activities.

• Council invited residents of Grassy Key to attend a community meeting on Wednesday, July 21 at the Marathon Fire Station to view the Area 7 wastewater plan before construction begins.

 

Abandoned trailer on Louisa Street

 

 

1470 Overseas Highway

 

 

 

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