December 11, 2019

ISLAMORADA — Mobile food vendors would like to roll into Islamorada, village staff will report Dec. 12.

“There have been numerous inquiries about mobile vending, however, the village’s code of ordinances includes no language regarding mobile vending of any kind,” Associate Planner Megan Rumbaugh said in a summary to the Islamorada Village Council.

In September, Islamorada’s Local Planning Agency talked about the possibility of allowing or banning mobile food trucks. “The LPA showed interest” in a two-year pilot program that might come with permitting, environment-friendly regulations, hours of operation, waste disposal requirements, parking and a limit on where and how many mobile vendors could be allowed, Rumbaugh said.

Planning staff will outline possible options, one of which would ban mobile food trucks from Lower Matecumbe Key.

Suggestions also include allowing food trucks to continue operating at approved major events and festivals, if daily food truck operations are blocked.

It’s not the first time the issue has been raised.

“Mobile food vending has become a nationwide phenomenon and there has been expressed interest in such services within the village,” former planning director Cheryl Cioffari reported in 2015.

As a discussion item at the 5:30 p.m. meeting at Founders Park Community Center meeting, council members will not take a formal vote but can give staff direction on whether to proceed with defining requirements for future action.

In another discussion topic, Vice Mayor Mike Forster plans to discuss “use of golf carts in the village.”

Now listed under the consent agenda, Village Council members will decide whether to pass a resolution on the proposed Restoration Blueprint management plan for the Florida National Marine Sanctuary.

Islamorada “recognizes the recreational and commercial importance of the marine resources of the Florida Keys, and protecting these sanctuary resources is valuable not only for the environment but also for the economy,” says a section of the opening statement.

The Village Council also will recommend federal and state sanctuary staff “listen to comments and suggestions from stakeholders, and to not limit public access unnecessarily within sanctuary waters.”

Increased funding for more enforcement officers to patrol the 3,800-square-mile sanctuary is needed, the draft resolution says.

Zoning change request

Two related quasi-judicial requests for Mixed Use zoning on Old Highway property near mile marker 82.8, behind the Islamorada post office, will be requested by representatives of Islands of Islamorada and Weaver Assets.

Currently zoned as Residential High and Residential Low, developers seek to “accommodate a mix of commercial and residential uses” to support facilities for vacation rentals on the oceanfront property.

Nearby residents previously argued the change “was commercial in nature and not consistent with the surrounding neighborhood.”

The requested change in Future Land Use Map zoning had been previously approved by the Village Council on 3-0 votes, with two members citing conflicts. The state Department of Economic Opportunity did not object to the change but advised the village to hold a third hearing.