Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Staff again opposed to market plan

ISLAMORADA -- The planning department will once again recommend that the Village Council reject a revised site plan for the proposed Upper Matecumbe Key Winn-Dixie when the council convenes Thursday, Feb. 13.

The department's concern continues to be parking, an analysis released ahead of the meeting shows.

Bellaire Beach-based Win Development is seeking to build a 22,000-square-foot market at mile marker 81, oceanside. A site plan approval made by the previous Village Council in the summer of 2012 is still valid, but Win wants to alter the parking plan in order to make use of the defunct Iguana Club's lot, which sits to the north of the market site and is owned by Islamoradan Michael Anzalone.

The previously approved site plan would necessitate Win receiving a cross-access agreement on the Galleria property to the market's south, where a dispute over property ownership is presently being litigated.

In its most recent plan, submitted on Jan. 9, Win proposed to build 93 parking spaces on the Winn-Dixie property and to make use of 10 spaces on the Iguana Club property.

But Planning Director Cheryl Cioffari wrote that the proposal doesn't meet requirements because the Iguana Club site doesn't have spaces to spare. The lot should have 127 spaces to handle its size. Instead, the property has just 48 spaces. If Winn-Dixie were to rely on some of those spaces, the inadequacy would extend to the market as well.

The problem could be solved, Cioffari wrote, if Anzalone were to forsake a portion of the commercial rights on the site.

In November the Village Council awarded Win a fresh building rights allocation of 15,561 square feet for the market. The company has until May to secure a permit for the Winn-Dixie.

Prior to its regular 5:30 p.m. Thursday meeting, the council will convene for a special 3 p.m. meeting to decide whether to continue using and upgrading the integrative software system CityView.

Records show that since 2005 the village has spent $618,000 on two versions of the software, CityView 8 and now CityView 2013. So far, the software isn't paying for itself through added efficiencies, Communications Director Stu Bautz acknowledges. But Bautz says he is confident that it will once the process of inputting the data necessary to put CityView 2013 to use is complete.

The software, for example, will allow permitting clerks, inspectors and planners to work on an application concurrently, rather than one desk having to sign off before the next can begin.

Inputting the data, however, is time consuming, in large part because the village administration didn't update the software annually over the past several years, a process that would have been free, Bautz said.

Last year Bautz estimated the data input would take 46 weeks, provided that the planning and building departments made a total of three to four staffers available two days per week.


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