The Key West City Commission tonight will consider a new law that would ward off pain management clinics from setting up shop on the island.
Commissioners tonight have on their agenda the first reading of an ordinance aimed at staving off any business that supplies on-the-spot dispensing of highly addictive medications such as oxycodone and semi synthetic opioids simply by giving the Planning Department up to six months to explore zoning restrictions.
Key West hasn't one pain management clinic, as defined by Florida law, but there have been inquiries by interested parties, said City Planner Don Craig.
So Craig presented a resolution to the Planning Board, which this fall approved a batch of limitations on such applications, including where and when pain management clinics could operate in Key West.
Now, the city is about to tap into its "Zoning in Progress doctrine," by approving the proposed ordinance that directs the planning department to delay any applications for such a clinic until Key West has adopted restrictions, or until 180 days from the passage of the law.
City commissioners allow two readings of a proposed ordinance before taking a vote on it.
The panel will meet at 6 p.m. tonight at Old City Hall, at 510 Greene St.
Key West is merely taking a pre-emptive stance on the "pill mills," which helped plummet the state of Florida into a disaster zone of fraud, addiction and crime, city planners said.
State Attorney General Pam Bondi went before Congress in March to announce that the Sunshine State was cleaning up its reputation, which drew the nickname "The Oxy Express," and marks a death toll of at least seven Floridians a day.
By 2010, Florida was home to more than 90 of the top 100 prescribers of the drug oxycodone.
This year the count was down to 13, Bondi's office says.
Key West may look attractive to pain management clinics that have been squeezed out of other Florida counties, Craig has said, and an outright ban on the clinics could draw lawsuits.
"The city does not have a mechanism to regulate the use, location, design, operation, maintenance and number of pain management clinics," wrote planner Ginny Haller in a report attached to tonight's agenda.
"Many cities and counties throughout Florida have regulated pain management clinics to protect their communities against the epidemic of pain medication distribution and fraud."
Cities and counties that recently have plunked down regulations on the number and location of pain management clinics include Palm Beach County, Margate, Wellington Village, Coral Springs, Cooper City and Broward County.
Tarpon Pier bid redux
At its Nov. 7 meeting, the City Commission postponed the awarding of a $1.4 million bid to Ebsary Foundation to replace the Tarpon Pier at City Marina Garrison Bight.
Garrison Bight has 44 slips and is the largest of the live aboard piers at the marina, with 33 vessels at last count, according to a Nov. 13 report that was prepared by city staff for City Manager Bob Vitas.
Completed between 1972-73, the concrete pier was extended an additional 92 feet in 1990, and a wood deck was added.
"The pier is considered in poor condition," the Nov. 13 report says.
"A 20-foot section of the concrete deck fell into the water in 2010 and disabled all utility services."
Ebsary Construction was one of seven firms that put in bids for the project in September, but it wasn't the lowest bid.
The lowest bid came from
Center Marine, at $945,609. But city staff deemed it a non-responsive bid, reporting that the firm did not provide costs for several items in the proposal, namely decking for the finger piers.
Former Assistant City Manager John Jones wrote to the commission, making the calculation that Ebsary's bid without the decking was $475,914 higher than Central Marine's.
Jones wrote, "I admit it's been a few years since I evaluated the cost of bid work for the city and might be hazy on the procedures, but $475,914 is a lot of money."
The city's budget for the project is $1.4 million. Ebsary's bid is $1,421,523; the city would have to find the difference by making cuts elsewhere.
Jones asked the city to not award the project, and either put it out for rebid or negotiate a lower price with Ebsary.