February 12, 2020

ISLAMORADA — Odds may be long but the Islamorada Village Council likely will try again to seek authority to curb use of disposable plastics.

At the council’s Feb. 13 meeting, members will be asked to renew a resolution that would allow local governments the right “to regulate the use of plastic shopping bags and other products that are detrimental to the environment, cause injury and death to marine life and land animals, and are increasingly harmful to the health of human beings.”

The Florida Legislature, now in its 2020 session, in 2008 passed a law to block counties and municipalities from banning disposable plastic bags.

Again this year, bills have been filed in the Florida Senate and House to repeal that 12-year-old law so local governments can use home rule to enact “local regulations of single-use shopping bags and polystyrene containers,” Village Manager Seth Lawless wrote.

If approved during Thursday’s meeting, this would be the sixth time that the council endorsed a call for the Florida Legislature to allow home rule on disposable plastics.

“Reusable bags and biodegradable containers are considered to be the best option to reduce waste and litter, protect wildlife and conserve resources,” says a section of the proposed resolution.

In other items on the Feb. 13 agenda:

• A quasi-judicial hearing on a vacant U.S. 1 lot near mile marker 88.6, bayside, returns to the council for a ruling on possible zoning and future land-use map changes. Islamorada’s planning staff endorsed the applicant’s proposal with conditions.

As proposed, the lot — about eight-tenths of an acre — would be used by Overseas Services LLC for offices and indoor storage. It currently is zoned for residential use.

The property lies between Monroe Drive and Village Street, across from the Marlin Food Store. A canal ends at the north side of the property. A dozen neighbors contacted planning staff with concerns.

While once considered as a potential marina site three decades ago, that is not part of the current plan, project representative Pete Bacheler said.

• If approved, six types of commercial-related zoning districts could be amended to allow use of transferable development rights for residential housing “in order to facilitate the redistribution of density” within Islamorada.

Those districts include Village Center, Tourist Commercial, Commercial Fishing, Marine Use, Highway Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial as eligible zoning districts for “receiving transfers of residential density from residential sender sites.”

• Council Mayor Mike Forster will ask if Islamorada should appoint a representative to serve as a non-voting member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Advisory Council, as allowed by sanctuary rules.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Founders Park Community Center.

kwadlow@keysnews.com