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LPA approves smaller setbacks on affordable units

ISLAMORADA — A rule change that would allow for smaller setbacks and buffer yards on affordable housing units was passed by the village’s Local Planning Agency earlier this month. It will now head before the Village Council, which initially requested staff to look into the issue, for action at an upcoming meeting. At the July[…]

KCB sets tentative tax hike

KEY COLONY BEACH — Total property tax collection in Key Colony Beach would go up about 8 percent overall under the preliminary fiscal year 2017-18 budget being proposed by the governing board. City officials after two workshops have approved an initial property tax hike of 7.7 percent. They are looking at tentatively setting the rate at $223[…]

Hospital making preparations for additional trauma helicopter

As if motorists needed another reason to drive — and dive — with caution this summer: No medical helicopter will be stationed in the Lower Keys for the next four to six weeks. The privately owned LifeNet helicopter left its heli-pad at Lower Keys Medical Center a few weeks earlier than planned after county officials[…]

FKAA board to vote on plant funding

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority board will vote Wednesday to move forward on a $38 million plan to replace its Stock Island desalination plant, which will be funded in part by two, 5 percent annual increases in water rates. The board meets today at 10:30 a.m. at the Mosquito Control District building, 503 107th St.[…]

County’s Gulf Seafood purchase plan falls through

The Monroe County government’s efforts to buy the old Gulf Seafood property on Stock Island and preserve it as a commercial marina have fallen through. The property, which houses about a dozen fishermen and their equipment, is currently in foreclosure and the bank has agreed to sell it to a private owner, not the county[…]

County approves tax hike, new hires

Property owners in unincorporated Monroe County will see a nearly 4 percent increase in their property taxes, according to a tentative tax rate and budget the Monroe County Commission approved Tuesday. The tentative tax rate will cost property owners about $340 per $100,000 of assessed property value in the 2017-18 fiscal year, and will generate[…]

Two airlifted after boat explodes

Two people were airlifted to a Miami hospital after a boat reportedly exploded in the Safe Harbor channel at Stock Island on Monday morning.  William Parker, 53, of St. Augustine, Florida, and boat owner Wendal Lynn, 42, of Waynesboro, Georgia, were airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center with burn injuries, said Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark. […]

Spraying Alert

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has scheduled an aerial adulticide mission Tuesday, July 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. The airplane mission, over Middle and Upper Key Largo, and the helicopter mission, over Ocean Reef, will be completed, weather permitting, using Naled.  The insecticide is used as a part of the district’s integrated pest[…]

Screwworm monitoring program drawing to close

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is wrapping up the last phase of its screwworm infestation monitoring program in the Florida Keys.  The service has begun to take off the monitoring collars placed on roughly 30 Key deer in the Big Pine Key area, the epicenter of a new world screwworm infestation late last year and[…]

Joe Weatherby steers — and sinks — ships

Captain Joe Weatherby will always be “the guy who sank the Vandenberg,” in May 2009, and he’s fine with that, though quick to emphasize how the artificial reef project was a tremendous group effort by a number of people and an entire community. “These days, everyone likes it,” he said, referring to the reefing project[…]