Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Mooring fields up for talk

KEY LARGO -- The Monroe County Commission will discuss plans for a managed mooring field off Key Largo as well as the town's controversial crosswalk during this week's meeting.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102, bayside.

In March, Coastal Systems International, which the county contracted to review three potential places for a managed mooring field, suggested Buttonwood Sound, Jewfish Creek and Boca Chica Basin.

The selection of Buttonwood Sound was partly based on the public comments of Point of View RV Resort developer Jim Saunders, who expressed an interest in offering shoreside facilities for boaters anchored to the mooring field. Saunders, however, has since changed his mind after feedback from his neighbors.

Key Largo Federation of Homeowner Associations President Dottie Moses has been adamantly against the proposed Buttonwood Sound site. She said the county should have been open to more than just three locations.

This week's discussion of the mooring field issue comes after a July federation meeting which county staff attended and heard discontent for the project.

With the lack of an onshore private partner, the Marine and Port Advisory Committee has since reversed its recommendation of the project. The county will now likely look at its second option, which was Jewfish Creek, or explore the possibility of seeking out a mooring field at a different location altogether. The mooring field discussion is set to begin at 10 a.m.

County Planning Commissioner Ron Miller is also expected to speak at 11 a.m. about the pedestrian crossing between Wendy's and Port Largo. The placement and design of the mile marker 99.7 crosswalk has been criticized by Sheriff Rick Ramsay, and Florida Department of Transportation officials are considering changes after meeting with Ramsay and state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo.

According to Raschein's office, FDOT may changing the color of the flashing lights from yellow to red to better ensure motorists stop for pedestrians.

Miller was a Federation of Homeowner Associations leader when the group asked FDOT for the crosswalk. Such a pedestrian crossing was also sought by residents who participated in a 2006 county-sponsored community master plan program.

The county this week is also expected to approve an interlocal agreement with the Key Largo Fire-EMS District, which would pay the district $850,000 over a three-year period to purchase new fire hydrants and vehicles. The money would come from the county's infrastructure sales tax.

jgore@keysnews.com

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