The Key West City Commission is expected to vote tonight on a set of ordinances that would tighten restrictions on street vendors, artists and performers.
One rule would create a "prohibition of art vendors to establish their wares on city sidewalks within 75 feet of storefronts selling like goods."
"I think it is very fair," City Commissioner Jim Weekley said. "You wouldn't want a jewelry vendor in front of a jewelry store."
Another rule would prohibit artists and performers from performing or selling their wares on city sidewalks on Duval Street from South Street to the South Beach Pier. Last year, the city passed a law that prohibits street artists and performers from operating on Duval Street from Petronia Street to South Street.
Since then, "performers and artists began to set up on those areas of sidewalk on Duval Street from South Street to the foot of Duval Street and more importantly, established themselves on the concrete pier extending into the Atlantic Ocean commonly called South Street Pier," Assistant City Attorney Ron Ramsingh wrote in a memo to city commissioners.
"Given the dynamics of the pier not having guardrails and the shallow surrounding waters, and the history of catastrophic injuries at the pier, ... having stationary hazards such as street performers and/or art vendors in such a venue poses a serious risk to the health, safety and welfare of individuals in the area," Ramsingh wrote.
"I am concerned about the proliferation of the number of artists and performers," said City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, who sponsored the new rule.
Also tonight, the City Commission is expected to give a second and final reading of a proposal to ask voters if they would support allowing the commission to decide whether an area should be annexed. Under the proposal, five out of seven commissioners would have to support annexing the property. Currently, only voters can decide whether the city can acquire or annex property.
"This is what voters elected us to do," Weekley said.
In 2007, the owners of Wisteria Island asked the city to annex the island, as they wanted to develop the property under city regulations rather than the county's more restrictive laws. The owners withdrew the request after a surge of opposition to the project.
Residents subsequently voted 4,924 to 1,692 to amend the City Charter to require that any purchase or annexation of land be put to a public vote.
The commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.