June 13, 2018

ISLAMORADA — Ten types of Islamorada building permits could be eliminated, Village Council members will hear Thursday, June 14.

Another seven types of building permits could be processed more quickly, without the need for planning department review, interim Planning Director Joseph Corradino wrote in his proposal for the 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Founders Park Community Center.

“While the recommendations below place a higher burden on the citizens to be vigilant, this ‘caveat emptor’ approach to permitting is a legitimate method of managing the built environment,” Corradino said, using the Latin term for “let the buyer beware.”

The review was prompted when Village Council members in May unanimously urged planners to scale back permitting and inspection requirements on things like fences and replacement air conditioners.

Of the 10 permits proposed for elimination in Islamorada, five were tagged with a requirement to be “self-certified” — meaning installed or inspected by a certified professional.

Projects recommended to require no permits or inspections include siding replacement, driveways, driveway pavers, irrigation systems and changing copy on an existing sign.

The five requiring professional certification but no permits or inspections are fences, replacement air conditioners, tiki huts, screened room enclosures and prefabricated sheds.

Projects that would qualify for “expedited” permits and inspections, but without planning review are hurricane shutters, interior renovations, replacement doors and windows, replacement roofs, replacement railings, electrical service upgrades and expired-permit renewals.

Homeowners would be held responsible if projects undertaken without permits were found to be in violation of Islamorada’s building codes.

Corradino recommended that, if approved by council, the change in permit requirements would be reviewed following a six-month trial period.

In other issues at the Thursday meeting, council members will:

•  Review a proposal to add more Old Highway parking at the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District by closing two intersections to U.S. 1, at Beach Road and Palm Avenue. The nearest access to U.S. 1 would be at Jerome Avenue at mile marker 81.4, or Johnston Road at mile marker 81.7.

•  Review a draft resolution for a November referendum on increasing Village Council terms to four years rather than the current two years. If approved, the four-year terms for three council members would take effect in 2020, with the remaining seats going to four years in 2022.

•  Get an update from Village Manager Seth Lawless on possible “mechanisms to address traffic concerns on the Old Highway” near the new Publix supermarket; and

• Schedule dates for the summer budget workshops. The Village Council’s first major deadline is setting millage-rate ceiling on July 19. The tax rate can be lowered before final approval but not raised.