Marathon Vice Mayor Mike Senmartin opened the city meeting on Tuesday by telling the assembled crowd that staff and council members had spent hours dissecting the 79-page transcript of the previous meeting regarding the re-plat of four large lots into 32 properties on Sombrero Beach Road.
“If there’s anything new and pertinent to this proceeding, the council will consider it,” Senmartin said. “Are there any speakers? … No speakers?”
Despite a full meeting room of re-plat opponents, no members of the public took the opportunity to address the council.
“It was our understanding that no one would be speaking,” said neighborhood resident and opponent Ed Gilreath. “They put it off two weeks and then it was going to be council members would speak among themselves and make a decision. The applicant’s people didn’t speak, and our people didn’t speak.”
Council members wasted little time, getting right to the point with Councilman Richard Keating leading the charge.
“I know what the residents would like to see, but up here we are bound by a different criteria. It’s not always a popular one and this has been a very difficult case,” said Keating. “If the applicant has fulfilled all those requirements than we are compelled to approve his development. I looked for anything I could to reduce density and there’s just nothing there. [Director of Planning George Garrett] and staff did an excellent job in dealing with all the questions and they have answered them to my satisfaction.”
Councilman Dan Zieg said, “If I lived in that neighborhood, I would have the same objections. But based on the advice we have gotten from the attorney, I don’t know how else to [vote] …”
Senmartin concurred. “The applicant has met every condition within our code. There isn’t a whole lot to do about it at this point.”
The council voted 4-0 to approve the re-plat. Councilman Bill Kelly did not discuss the re-plat on the dais and Mayor Chris Bull was absent, due to the play-off game for the Marathon High School varsity soccer team that he co-coaches with his wife Cindy Durkin.
After the vote was called, the crowd immediately got to its feet and started moving toward the exit. Someone said, “Disgusting! Disgusting!” and another said, “There are two zeroes in ‘boo.’”
Gilreath said he wasn’t surprised by the council’s approval of the re-plat.
“I was of a mind that it was going to happen, just because of the way they had spoken previously. In effect, they were leaving it up to the city lawyer,” he said.
Although the applicant has specifically calculated the lot sizes to accommodate 18 duplexes and 14 single family homes, no applications for development have been submitted. The four lots cover 10 acres.
The property is owned by Ken Cianchette of Key Colony Beach. REER Unlimited is under contract to purchase the property, but the deal has not been finalized.
In other news:
• The council directed staff to advertise a proposed change to the law regulating mobile vendors. It would increase the hours a business could operate on private property from two consecutive hours to five consecutive hours. It also directed staff to bring Marathon’s only food truck — Cocomo’s located at MM 98.5 — into compliance. Staff reported the vehicle is up on blocks and has permanent connections to electric and water utilities, rendering it ineligible for its mobile status.