October 23, 2019

ISLAMORADA — Carroll Street residents on Upper Matecumbe Key want an explicit and binding statement on the use of a controversial entrance into the Islander Resort, Islamorada Village Councilman Ken Davis says.

“A lot of the neighbors are still questioning the need for that access. They want it on the permanent record that it will be for fire access only,” said Davis, who plans to raise the issue at the Thursday, Oct. 24, meeting of the Islamorada Village Council.

Carrroll Street, which ends in a cul de sac, is a quiet, family neighborhood, residents have said in previous Islamorada meetings.

After Hurricane Irma, Islamorada staff approved a new access entrance off Carroll Street so the adjacent Islander Resort could refurbish its motel units and restore the wide beach. Residents expected the access road to be closed when the Islander reopened, but contended that large delivery trucks continued to use the new entry, disrupting the neighborhood.

Islander executives pledged to halt use of the access road for deliveries off Carroll Street but want to keep the gated entry so fire-rescue vehicles can respond more quickly to an emergency. The gate will be locked except in an emergency, they said.

Several residents remain dubious about the proposal, Davis said earlier this week.

“I think they have a right to an open hearing,” he said.

No formal action will take place during this week’s meeting but a future hearing could be scheduled.

At an Oct. 10 council meeting, Carroll Street resident Frank Ortiz criticized the Islander in public comment for not replacing landscape trees the resort installed while building its convention center.

“I told them I had no problem with the building as long as I didn’t have to stare at it,” Ortiz said. “It used to be beautiful, but what I am looking at now is not so beautiful. … Hurricane Irma changed everything.”

Trees that were damaged or removed have not been replaced, Ortiz said. “I feel like I’m being pushed aside,” he said.

In other items on the 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 agenda:

• The Moorings oceanfront resort plans to seek approval of a 20-page development agreement that could allow existing hotel units and facilities to be rearranged on the tract, subject to Islamorada development regulations.

• The Bad Boy Burrito restaurant in the Trading Post Plaza will request approval of a liquor license allowing beer and wine to be sold for on-premises consumption. Islamorada planning staff reported the restaurant meets required standards and recommends license approval.

• Florida International University staff, which monitors Islamorada’s water quality, will report to the council.

The council meets at the Founders Park Community Center, mile marker 87, bayside.

kwadlow@keysnews.com