MARATHON -- The owners of the multiple-site Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club property have applied for the city's permission to build an extra 25 units at the Hyatt hotel it hopes to break ground by the end of the year.
The developers already have approval to build a 100-unit hotel. However, they want the option of building a 125-room hotel should they be awarded some of the new transient rental unit permits the city has to hand out. (See related story, page 17.)
According to City Planning Director George Garrett, the extra units would require adding 30 feet of length to each end of the hotel's proposed "U" footprint.
The Marathon City Council signed off on the conditional use and development agreement. Bill Spottswood, the principal of developer SH3 Ltd., said the company is prepared to begin work.
"We're ready, willing and able to move. We expect to pull the [building] permits by November," he said.
In addition, SH3 agreed to donate $100,000 for the splash park proposed for Marathon.
That is expected to lower the city's bill to $500,000 for the new facility to be located between the sewer plant and the Middle Keys Guidance Center, adjacent to the city park.
According to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, the city received and ranked five proposals for the splash park. It agreed to proceed with the top-ranked company, FHP Tectonics Corp., asking it to incorporate more elements into its proposal and resubmit it.
"We researched which companies had the best track record at building splash parks," said Louie Gonzalez, a member of the advisory committee.
The plan, price and contract will come back to the council at a later date.
In other news:
• The council discussed improving security at the parking lot adjacent to the Old Seven Mile Bridge. Mayor Pete Worthington wanted to know if it was possible to seek out grants that might help offset the costs of lighting and cameras. Councilwoman Ginger Snead said she opposes spending city funds on state-owned property.
"I am against spending our tax money on something that we've been told, in no uncertain terms, that we can't use [for community events]," she said.
• Public Works postponed work on the sidewalk near Publix and Walgreen's at 53rd Street until after lobster mini-season, citing increased traffic.
• Councilman Dick Ramsay said Monroe County has gone back to the drawing board on whether to hire a private firm or an individual to run the Marathon airport.
"I think that the Monroe County Commission is going to try to find an individual to manage the airport, with the idea that the person could be trained to take over Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton's job when he retires," Ramsay said. "I think that logic will prevail."
• The council accepted a bid for $1.6 million from JMW Construction Corp. to build the new fire house on Grassy Key. It will be constructed using foam-block technology, which city officials said is hurricane-resistant and energy-efficient.
• The council also agreed to buy new lids for the sewer facilities along the U.S.1 corridor on Grassy Key that did not meet Florida Department of Transportation guidelines. The cost is almost $46,000.
The city characterized the rejected lids as a misunderstanding between Weiler Engineering Corp., the firm handling the city's sewer design, and FDOT.