Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Petition signatures fall short

ISLAMORADA -- A local group has a bit more work to do in order to get a referendum before Islamorada voters this November.

KIPPS, or Keep Islamorada Peaceful, Prosperous and Safe, hopes voters will get to decide whether to change the village charter to prohibit buildings larger than 10,000 square feet. To make that happen, the group must garner signatures from 10 percent of registered village voters.

But though the KIPPS petition drive, conducted from early April to early June, yielded the requisite 492 signature forms, the Monroe County Supervisor of Election's Office, last week, deemed 32 of those forms invalid.

Signatures were rejected because they were duplicates, undated or didn't match signatures on file, or because the signatories weren't registered in the village, said Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin.

She added that problems such as those are common in petition drives.

Beth Kaminstein, who headed the petition drive, said the setback doesn't even register as minor.

"It's all built into the process," she said in an interview last Friday.

She said KIPPS plans to acquire the now-needed 32 signatures and to move forward with its effort to put an end to large commercial building projects in Islamorada.

Under the village charter, KIPPS has 10 days to complete the petition drive once it receives a formal mailed notice from the village. Kaminstein says she had yet to get such a letter as of last Friday, though she had been informed of the situation by Village Clerk Kelly Toth.

KIPPS, which is mainly comprised of northern Upper Matecumbe Key residents, was formed to oppose a proposed mile marker 83.2 Publix. The Village Council approved the 28,000-square-foot market in December and KIPPS has since sued the village and developer Equity Development Group to block, or at least alter, the project.

KIPPS says that building larger than 10,000 square feet threatens Islamorada's small-town character. The referendum wouldn't impact the proposed Publix or any other projects that have already been approved.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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