The city of Marathon and the state of Florida have a new memorandum of understanding  (MOU) approved by the Marathon City Council at the April 12 council meeting. It delineates the information the city is required to provide the state Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to validate planning approvals and building permits issued in Marathon. 

In late February, the state rescinded its 17-year agreement with the city. The new MOU agreement requires that more types of development approvals be rendered to DEO than the original MOU. For example: 

  • The MOU requires state review of building permits and associated plans for new residential homes and commercial projects, in addition to the conditional use permits, development agreements, and other planning type approvals that the city already provides. Such additional review would include any renovation of an existing home that expands  beyond its current footprint. 
  • The MOU also requires review of all development right transfers, variances and  determinations of vested rights.  
  • In addition, the MOU will require the review of all projects that were denied by the city’s  Planning Commission and then subsequently approved by the Marathon City Council. 
  • Through the MOU, the state will also oversee permits granting accessory uses – such as  building a swimming pool or a tiki hut.  

Under Florida statutes and the Administrative Code, all development orders must be  submitted to the state unless otherwise specified in an MOU agreement. The city, Monroe County and other municipalities in the Keys all have slightly different MOUs with the state, as they are all part of the Florida Keys Area of Critical Concern.  

Under current regulations for Marathon, all permits require 30 days before construction can begin. If, however, a permit requires state approval, that can mean a wait time of 75 days before a permit becomes effective. 

City Manager George Garrett said he and the City Council are pleased to have approved the new MOU with the understanding that there may be further mutual revision to limit the number and types of permits sent to the state and to minimize the overall time for permit review.

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