The City of Key West’s website is full of fabulous maps that let the community do everything from track transient rental units to see what roadwork is in the pipeline. There is even a map that allows you to research who is buried in a particular plot at the Key West Cemetery.
Just go to www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov and click on the drop down menu of City Departments. There you’ll see a link for the Geographic Information (GIS) Systems.
The latest addition to this valuable site are maps showing the location of legal transient rentals and a map of rental units.
Transient rentals are defined as any unit group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings rented for a period or periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month, or is advertised as a place rented to transients, regardless of the occurrence of an actual rental. Currently there are 850 of these licenses.
Non-transient rentals are defined as any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings that are rented for a period of more than 30 days or one calendar month or is advertised as a place rented for more than 30 days or one calendar month, regardless of the occurrence of an actual rental. There are currently 2,508 of these licenses.
The transient rental map is a good tool for resident who wonder whether a house that seems to be renting for less than a month is a legally licensed transient rental.
If you find that the location is not legal, you are urged to call Code Compliance at 305-809-3737.
Got a question or suggestion for the Mayor? Join Mayor Teri Johnston on Tuesday, May 17th at the Green Pineapple, 1130 Duval Street from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a conversation about our community.
Mayor Johnston looks forward to seeing you there!
Key West City staffers, elected officials and the dedicated volunteer Ploggers gathered nearly 200 pounds of trash on Earth Day, despite a variable deluge. They gathered at the Peace Covenant Church on Flagler and spread out from there. In two hours – mostly in pouring rain -- they had collected 191 pounds of trash, another 67 pounds of recycling and four gallons of cigarette butts.
The group of 30 included Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Gregory Davila, three Key West Ambassadors and 12 City employees.
The following day, the Key West Sea Turtle Club descended on the nature beach off Atlantic Blvd. That group collected 290 pounds of trash off the beach and out of the mangroves.
“It’s wonderful to see our community pull together to keep Key West beautiful,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
These efforts are part of a push to involve the community to keep Key West beautiful. In addition to the Early Bird cleanups, the City has kicked off an Adopt-A-Spot program and Mayor Teri Johnston has reconvened the Beautification Committee.
It's time again for one of the more spectacular natural events in the Keys -- turtle nesting season.
The City of Key West wants to remind residents and visitors to keep the lights out near the beaches so that turtles can lay their eggs in peace and the hatchlings can find their way safely to the water.
Hatchlings naturally run toward light, so we're asking that anyone living near the beach turn off the outdoor lighting and close your shades or curtains and if at all possible. If the lights cannot be completely doused, try shielding them so that they don't shine toward the beach. Baby turtles are drawn to light after they hatch from their sandy nests. Porch lights can be fatal to these hatchlings.
Key West's beaches are closed to the public each night at 11 p.m., and this time of year it's vital that people heed the law. April 15th through October 31st is turtle nesting season -- that time of year when these magnificent creatures crawl up out of the sea to deposit their eggs in the sand.
The organization Save-A-Turtle has, in past years, seen evidence that females have crawled up on the beach and returned to the water without laying any eggs. Turtle watchers suspect these "false crawls" may be the result of human interference.
Although it's tempting to try and witness this rare and wonderful aspect of our ocean environment, it's not worth the consequences. Nesting beaches have diminished as development has increased over the past several decades. It's crucial that we do all we can to ensure safe nesting beaches in Key West.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, honored Police Chief Sean Brandenburg for his 20 years of service to Key West.
Surrounded by colleagues, commissioners, the mayor, and his wife Julie, Chief Brandenburg was presented a 20-year coin and gold watch commemorating his service.
“We thank you, Sean, for all your many years of service,” said McLauchlin.
“It’s an honor to make this milestone in my career.” Said Brandenburg. “I still enjoy going to work every day. The two big reasons for that: The fine men and women of the Key West Police Department, and the community support we get. And by community support I also mean our law enforcement community. Nowhere else do you see city, county, state, federal and the military get along the way we do in Key West.”
In presenting the honors, McLauchlin recalled the many contributions and milestones in Chief Brandenburg’s career. Hired on April 1st in 2002, “Sean started on the night shift, quickly becoming a K-9 handler. He was paired with his K-9 Wind, who would serve faithfully by his side for the next several years.”
In 2005, he was promoted to Sergeant, and, in 2010, Brandenburg and Wind were assigned to the Special Investigations Unit or narcotics unit.
“During his time in narcotics, Sean was the leader of the unit,” said McLauchlin, “working closely with our local, state and federal partners, to combat the opioid epidemic that was just beginning to take hold in the US and Florida. In one six-month stint while working with a special task force from the DEA, his unit filed over 250 felony charges against individuals selling drugs in Key West.”
Brandenburg was promoted to Lieutenant in 2012. In 2014, he was promoted to Administrative Captain.
While he was Captain, Brandenburg attended the prestigious FBI National Academy, an honor less than one percent of Law Enforcement worldwide are selected to attend.
On December 3, 2018, he was promoted to Police Chief.
“As Chief, he has continued to strive to improve the agency's relationship with the community,” McLauchlin noted. “Sean is a member of Rotary, Business Guild, Cooking with Love and Military Affairs Committee, and sits on various boards to include Keys to be the Change, Wesley House, Love Fund, and PAL. Sean is also an enormous supporter of Special Olympics, MARC House, and Autism Society of the Keys, hence the Blue Badge on his chest. Sean has received numerous awards, such as Life Saving, Officer of the Quarter, Unit Award, and the Chief's Commendation, for his work throughout his tenure.”
The City of Key West is launching a new way to team up with the community to keep Key West beautiful.
Key West Adopt-A-Spot is here, and we need your help. We are seeking businesses, professional organizations, or volunteer groups to adopt a specific spot in Key West to take care of in the coming months.
You can pick up trash or monitor cleanliness in your Adopt-A-Spot area, or ensure plantings are trimmed and the area is kept neat and clean. City staff will assist with large projects, but the key to success is a volunteer corps that monitors the various areas, helps with simple maintenance and clean-up, and reports potential problems.
The City will provide work gloves, trash bags and pick-up tools, and high-visibility vests for workers. Volunteers will provide the people power, which is key to the program’s success. We need volunteers and recommendations of spots and areas that need special attention.
We urge businesses, civic organizations and even individuals to take a look around and find the spot you want to adopt!
Please contact Dorian Patton at 305-809-3782 or email him at email@example.com to volunteer or submit suggestions of areas that need attention.
Together we can keep Key West beautiful!
The City of Key West today announced the release of its 2021 Annual Report. For the first time in over a decade, the publication is available in print as well as electronically.
The report highlights the City’s accomplishment over the past year and provides the community a quick, accessible guide to the various departments that serve our citizens.
“I’m proud to present the first annual report to be issued under my leadership,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin, who took the reins in June of 2021 after serving as interim City Manager for 18 months.
“This report serves as a progress report,” she said, “and much more. You’ll find departmental budgets, contact information, a listing of city boards and other details to help our citizens understand their City government.”
The 2021 Annual Report is available at City Hall, 1300 White Street. The electronic report is available on the City’s web site at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov.
The City of Key West was named a 2021 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.
“Your community should be proud to live in a place that makes the planting and care of trees a priority, and you should be proud of a job well done!” wrote the Tree City team in a letter announcing the recognition.
Karen DeMaria, the City’s Urban Forester, says she’s grateful for the recognition, one that the City has received ten times.
“Our island’s canopy is vital to the quality of life of our residents and visitors,” said DeMaria.
Each year on Arbor Day, the City urges property owners to plant a tree.
“Trees on publicly and privately owned property within the city are economic and aesthetic asset to the citizens,” says DeMaria, “because of their important and meaningful contribution to a healthy and beautiful community.”
Key West achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained, says DeMaria. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.
In the photo: Key West’s official tree: the royal poinciana.
In June of 2021, the City Commission passed a resolution embracing Key West’s upcoming bicentennial. March 25, 2022 will mark 200 years since Lt. Commander Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner USS Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag, claiming Key West and the Florida Keys as property of the United States.
For months, a committee of residents has been organizing the 200 Year Celebration of Key West and the Florida Keys as well as several other important bicentennials including the founding of the City of Key West in 1828 and the establishment of the U.S. Navy's presence in the island city in 1823 to stop piracy in the region.
The committee members plan a grand celebration in March recognizing the contributions, culture and history of Key West, including the earliest indigenous residents and settlers to the island as well as concentrating on the Key’s fishing heritage, baseball, cigar-making, and Key West’s One Human Family philosophy. Participants can look forward to a Conch picnic, a formal dinner with dignitaries, and a formal ceremony, among other activities.
As a central part of the City of Key West’s celebration, The Key West 200th Heritage Festival will be held Saturday, March 26, 2022 at the Truman Waterfront Park. From 10 am to 9 pm locals and visitors alike can celebrate the bicentennial with exhibits, stage performances, history reenactments and a variety of vendors. The evening caps off with a 15-minute silent drone fireworks show set to music.
The beautiful Truman Waterfront will be divided into zones to include areas representing our Marine, Fishing & Ecosystem, Family & Community, Commercial Interests, Entertainment, Art & Creativity, Heritage & History, Military, Special Events and Conch Cuisine & Spirits. There will be plenty of great local food and beverages available and green space to spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the park. Local businesses, events, attractions, restaurants, distilleries, community organizations, artists, musicians, performers, reenactors and vendors are invited to apply to participate. Organizers are particularly seeking displays and exhibits that represent Key West’s ongoing story.
The Mainstage, brought by AAG Live Key West and Race World Offshore, will kick off with a 10 am opening ceremony and feature live entertainment all day long. Organizers hope to share everything from favorite theater production pieces, iconic musical talent, Mallory Square performers, dancers and cheerleaders to a Junkanoo performance.
A pre-fireworks presentation and National Anthem will happen at 8:15 pm and the drone show takes place at 8:30 pm. This pet-friendly, silent and completely ecofriendly presentation is the first of its kind in Key West and will feature custom created configurations representing some of the most recognized symbols in our conch community. Reserved 10x10 tent space will be available in prime viewing space on the Mole for groups and corporate organizations to sponsor to help underwrite the program.
The Heritage Festival is free to attend. Parking is limited to one handicapped lot and one moped lot so guests should plan to take the free Duval Loop, bike or ride share to the Truman Waterfront.
Sponsorships, VIP viewing tents, and vendor space is available to support this community celebration as well as lots of free space for exhibits and displays. Contact Sean K at 305.731.3885 for more info or register at https://bit.ly/KW200
The 200th Heritage Festival is just one of several events scheduled for the bicentennial week-long celebration. The primary dedication of the time capsule will be held March 25, which is thought to be the actual bicentennial date, at Mallory Square. For more information contact 200th Anniversary Celebration chairman, Paul Menta or visit https://www.keywest200th.com/
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