Florida Keys News
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
City discusses possible annexation of Key Haven

Key West officially cast its municipal eye on two of its unincorporated neighbors after city commissioners voted to accept the city's new comprehensive plan.

The City of Key West's Adopted Comprehensive Plan lists steps for how to add southern Stock Island and Key Haven to the city's boundaries, a process that would need approval by voters in those communities and could take two years or more.

City Planner Don Craig told the commissioners, while introducing the comprehensive plan, that picking up the island of Key Haven would be in the city's best interests.

Annexing Key Haven would be desirable, Craig said, because of its location and because some residents there have expressed a desire to be part of the city.

Commissioner Jimmy Weekley asked why the city would consider annexing only Key Haven.

"Why would you annex Key Haven and leave out the part of Stock Island that runs through there?" Weekley said.

Commissioner Tony Yaniz also questioned the idea.

"The general public wants to know, why make an attempt to annex Key Haven and bypass Stock Island? That seems a like a little bit of cherry-picking," Yaniz said. "You can't bypass Stock Island."

Monroe County officials, commissioners said, are aware of the city's desire to annex Key Haven. But the point has not been made clear that Stock Island would not be included in the plan, staff members said in response to questions.

Key Haven lies about a mile east of Key West and has a population of about 1,000.

"We would be talking about Stock Island and all the city's regulations and rules being applied to Stock Island," said Mayor Craig Cates.

The only action taken at Tuesday's meeting was approval of the comprehensive plan's amendments, which include plans for recreation and outdoor space, and how land will be used and zoned in the future.

Other elements include reduction of emissions and rules for restricting development.

One goal listed on the plan is reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from the year 2005, and creation of a tree master plan.

jdesantis@keysnews.com

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