June 12, 2019

ISLAMORADA — Residents have had their fill of the filth at the Indian Key Fill area.

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, the Islamorada Village Council holds a special meeting to hear concerns and suggestions for the scenic stretch of U.S. 1 that links Upper Matecumbe Key to Lower Matecumbe Key, between mile markers 77.5 to 79.8.

“This is something the people have been asking for,” Councilman Ken Davis said. “This will be residents’ opportunity to voice their opinion while also understanding issues that confront the village when dealing with state agencies.”

Representatives of state agencies may not attend the session that seeks “discussions and options for how to address the often-chaotic conditions, damage to the mangroves and shoreline, and the enormous amounts of trash left behind by visitors at the Fills on weekends and holidays,” Islamorada public information officer Mary Swaney said.

Concerns from the June 18 meeting at the Founders Park Community Center will be delivered during a closed staff meeting June 21 with representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Mayor Deb Gillis will represent the Village Council at the June 21 meeting, along with village staff and Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

“We’ve been asking for this meeting for years,” Gillis said Monday. “Hopefully we can make some progress on [the state] doing something. The fills are inside the village, but we have little or no jurisdiction over it. The FDOT owns the land, the FWC operates the boat ramp and DEP handles water-quality issues.”

FDOT reportedly requested the June 21 meeting be limited to staff.

“The public forum on June 18 will be the chance for people to speak up,” Gillis said. “They deserve to be heard.”

Davis urged people attending the public meeting “to read up on the issues” to understand why Islamorada cannot mandate changes on its own.

People who cannot attend the June 18 meeting may “submit comments and suggestions for dissemination to all Village Council members and the village manager.”

Emails should be sent to clerk@islamorada.fl.us by noon Monday, June 17.

kwadlow@keysnews.com