Commonly called “New Town,” District 4 is shaped like a T — ranging from Smathers Beach, to behind the airport, to and bordering portions of North Roosevelt Blvd. Commissioner Richard Payne is not running for re-election. Commission terms run for four years.
Key West City Commissioner, District 4
Position salary: $20,000 per year
1. Major cities around the country are putting restriction on the number of Airbnb or VRBO rentals allowed. Do you think this is necessary and what extra restrictions/requirements would you propose — length of stay, or number of units available for rental, or complete elimination?
2. What is the greatest need in your particular district and how do you address those needs?
3. Name one action the City of Key West can take to improve either parking availability or removing traffic off local streets.
4. Should the City of Key West retain control over the amphitheater management, or subcontract it out to a professional group?
5. What’s your process, or vision, for the selection of a new city manager and other various administrative positions that will need to be filled in the coming years?
Editor’s notes: Candidates’ answers appear as they were submitted.
Jennifer Stefanacci, nonpartisan
Jenn Stefanacci began visiting Key West at a young age and has called the island home for nine years. With a bachelor’s in corporate communications from Elon University, Stefanacci is the managing parter and owner of 22&Co in Key West and has been bartending in the hospitality industry throughout the island during her tenure. Jenn Stefanacci’s name appears on the ballot as “Jennifer Stefanacci Doll.”
• Top three issues: Bridging communication gap, timely follow through on plans, clean Duval and creation of pedestrian-only hours.
• Campaign website: Jenn Stefanacci for City Commissioner on Facebook.
1. Airbnb and VRBO need to be banned completely. We are not collecting bed taxes to invest back into our community. In New Orleans, they banned them in the French Quarter. If anyone was found to be renting illegally, their power was shut off. Two bedroom rentals are back down to $1,600 a month and people can survive.
2. The main thoroughfare, Flagler Avenue, looks nothing like a paradise throughway. We need a beautification of our main traffic areas, including medians, sidewalks, city park properties, and fixing potholes.
3. Smartphone app-based metered parking would help immensely. The City would be able to collect parking fees immediately, instead of chasing after tickets. It will also shorten the amount of time a car can occupy the space therefore turning over the space quicker resulting in additional parking income.
4. No. We need to have a venue management company such as Live Nation, Rams Head etc., to manage the venue including the food and beverage to streamline the operations and put experienced personnel at the helm of this large investment by the city of Key West.
5. We need to invite qualified people to interview and develop a commission to choose a candidate that has experience working in a tourist based city and someone that understands Key West.
Gregory Davila, nonpartisan
Attorney and local business owner Gregory Davila has spent his 51 years in Key West. Davila has a degree from Stetson University College of Law (Juris Doctor), Oxford University in England (Foreign Law Study) and FIU (bachelor’s in political science). Davila’s immediate family includes his wife, Heidi and their two children. Davila believes his lifetime of service, including volunteer hours, coaching and care for his 86-year-old mother, lends the necessary experience to serve those in need.
• Top three issues: Congestion, green space, and senior transportation.
• Campaign website: davila2018.com.
1. At this point, the City of Key West no longer issues transient rental licenses. While I can appreciate the property rights issues involved with someone renting their own property, I believe we have to balance those interests with those of the surrounding neighborhood and neighbors’ rights to peaceably enjoy their property. For District IV, which is primarily single-family residences, short-term, un-hosted, transient rentals are not very appealing to our neighbors.
2. There is no need greater than any other in our district. Each resident rightfully believes that his or her particular need should be addressed. Our residents would generally benefit from better quality of life issues that can be addressed by the City. We need additional green space for our children, we need to reduce traffic congestion, we need better transportation availability for our senior population, we need speed bumps on certain streets, we need potholes filled, we need better marked bike paths, we need better drainage in some areas. These are essential City services that we need to focus on.
3. I was a member of the City’s Parking and Alternative Transportation Board where we put forth 27 recommendations to the City Commission to help with parking and related transportation and congestion issues. One of the recommendations was to restrict a minimum of 50% of the street parking in neighborhoods to residents of Key West and increase that percentage to 75% in streets where there was only parking on one side of the street. If the City was to adopt that policy, tourists would be forced to find parking in our pay parking lots …
4. If the City was to subcontract the management of the amphitheater to a professional group, I would want to ensure that any contract with the outside management group included a high number of days for use by our local groups and residents. My concern with hiring an outside group is that we would sacrifice our local residents’ need for the venue for an outside provider’s need to make it worthwhile for them. I also understand on a macro economic level, that if we were to hire an outside management group, it would have to be able to make a profit for its shareholders …
5. The City Commission selects the city manager, the city attorney, and the city clerk. The charter does not provide that the City Commission fills any other administrative positions within the City. If the City Commission should need to select one of these positions, I believe that we would need to establish a selection committee that would advertise the position nationwide and vet all of the candidates to help determine who would be the best possible person with the education, experience, and ability for the position.