November 13, 2019

Peter Bacheler

Peter Bacheler

ISLAMORADA — At least one seat in the 2020 election for Islamorada Village Council will be competitive.

Peter Bacheler, chairman of Islamorada’s Local Planning Agency, filed Nov. 1 to run for a two-year term on Seat 1 in the Nov. 3, 2020, balloting.

“I’m happy with the current council and recent councils,” Bacheler said. “When I get elected, I intend to maintain the solidarity of the present council.”

Frank Lavin, founder of Lavin Design Group, a project management and interior design firm, also is campaigning for Seat 1 in the November 2020 election.

Mayor Deb Gillis now occupies Seat 1 but will step down next November under Islamorada’s limit of four consecutive terms.

Two other incumbent council members, Jim Mooney and Mike Forster, plan to leave the board to pursue other elected posts.

“I have been hearing an undercurrent that people are worried three-fifths of the council could change in one election cycle, and that might be too much,” said Bacheler, a private land-use planner. “I’ve got 33 years of local knowledge and my goal is to preserve our paradise.”

Bacheler said after working on the LPA for five years, he wants to coordinate with Florida Department of Economic Opportunity officials on local development rules before a state-imposed limit on housing arrives around 2023. He also wants the council to build up village reserves in case of future storms.

Under the Islamorada charter, residents registered as local voters can choose to seek a specific seat on the council without any geographic limitations.

First-time council candidates Jenny Bell Thomson and Larry Zettwoch have filed to run for Seats 3 and 5, respectively, which are not expected to have an incumbent.

Seat 3 Councilman Mooney is running for the Florida House of Representatives District 120 seat, and Forster in Seat 5 is campaigning for the Monroe County Commission’s District 5 seat.

Incumbents Cheryl Meads in Seat 2 and Ken Davis in Seat 4 are eligible to seek re-election.

Election qualifying is open until Aug. 11, 2020. For information, contact the Village Clerk’s office at 305-664-6412.

kwadlow@keysnews.com