Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Solution to Southard Street?

Depending on the outcome of the TAMPOA vs City of Key West (and the United States too), eminent domain may become necessary for the City for control of Southard Street.

TAMPOA has claimed that losing Southard Street would cause that community to lose a large amount of value. The reason, according to TAMPOA, is that Truman Annex would no longer be a gated community, and gated communities, according to TAMPOA, are worth more than non-gated communities.

But what about a smart solution?

Here is what I suggest.

Erect fences and gates along Southard Street - thereby keeping Truman Annex gated. The street and sidewalks/greenspace are wide enough that fences would fit. (I've include an artists rendition of what this might look like. Also, since the guardbooth would no longer be necessary, I thought it nice to show what Southard Street might look like without it).

If the City incorporates an idea like this into their eminent domain proceedings then they could show the judge that there are not significant damages to Truman Annex. Remember, unlike many eminent domain proceedings in the United States, no one is losing a house here. Its a street and it will remain a street.
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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

If my house was on Southard Street I wouldn't want to look out my windows at a wall 15 feet away.

Why is eminent domain necessary? Why can't there be several entrance points to the Navy property, or maybe route all traffic in on one street and out on another?

BTW, what time will the park be closing at night, sundown? I think that's what it is at Fort Zach, isn't it?

Bob Kelly said...

Nice picture, Dave, and a brilliant solution to the Southard St. "problem".

Bob Kelly said...

Nice picture, Dave, and a brilliant solution to the Southard St. "problem".

Anonymous said...

No matter how you "slice it", if the city attempts to take over the part of Southard owned by TAMPOA, they will be reducing the value of the neighborhood. Even if you think that it'll be less than the estimated amount (without this screwey "divide the neighborhood into two neighbhorhoods" scheme), it will still cost a lot of money that the city doesn't have.

Note that they're ALREADY facing cut-backs now due to the "property tax reform" currently in the works. Note that people like Danny Kohlage are ALREADY griping about every penny the city spends, no matter how important the item.

Do you really think that the city will spend untold millions (yes, MILLIONS, no matter how you slice it) for an unneeded and probably unwinnable "eminent domain" action just to placate you "screw TAMPOA" people?

Cayo Dave said...

Anonymous - your comment reeks of arrogance. You claim the City does not have the money and are trying to bully and scare everyone into believing you.
The fact is that the Waterfront project is a huge deal. It will cost a lot of money no matter what to develop. Southard Street is likely a part of it.
Oh, and by the way, I think that my "screwey...scheme" is a hell of a lot more sensible than TAMPOA's actions.
Remember, TAMPOA wants a gated neighborhood - I have simply provided a solution.

Harvey J. Keck said...

The issue is still a taking. Having the city put up wall is not the same as a gated community which controls the grounds. A rose is a rose is a rose but this ain't no rose. Tampoa exists on both sides of Southard St. and cutting this baby is half is not the same as having the one entity. Still you haven't dealt with the issue of eminent domain. You need to prove that is it necessary to take private land when there is already public streets which border the waterfront area. This goes against the city's own consultant's recommendation. Sorry but this threat of eminent domain is all smoke and mirrors. Since the city will have to pay for both sides of the dispute I say again "Whoa Nellie and hold on to your wallet"

Anonymous said...

Tampoa HAS a gated neighborhood. It's not screwey for them to defend it against people who wish to steal it from them. There's no arrogance in that -- conversely, those who speak as if they can take away what others own just because they don't like them are the height of arrogance.....

Cayo Dave said...

Harvey,
The other streets you are referring to are not A.D.A. complaint and will likely require the use of eminent domain there to allow for sidewalks. So, when weighing where to apply eminent domain, Southard Street is the most logical since it is very wide and has been the historical access to the Waterfront, Zach Taylor, and the Navy propery). But I agree with you on one point - there should be multiple points of entry, and I see no reason to not open up the Bahama Village streets to one way traffic into the Waterfront.
The fact that Southard Street has been used since its incepetion as an access to the Waterfront (as well as Fort Zachary and the Navy property) means that this eminent domain claim is both logical and fair.
Remember, the City did not start this fight. Everything seemed o.k. on our island. It was TAMPOA that wanted to control what would happen outside their neighborhood - and decided to have a showdown - blocking traffic and threatening to gate off Southard Street. Do you really want me to believe that Truman Annex now needs to close themselves in? For decades that neighborhood seemed to function fine - traffic would come and go, and I can't remember ever hearing of a problem (I'm sure there was a problem somewhere at some time...there always is).
So far, the only one truly losing money on this is TAMPOA - spending piles of their residents' money for a fight that many in Truman Annex feel is pointless and benefiting only a few.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you revise history to suit your attempts to justify your hatred of TAMPOA....

TAMPOA has and continues to allow what it "always has", which is access to Fort Zach and government facilities reachable only via Southard. They have never proposed stopping this.

When the city took over the Truman Waterfront, THEY wanted to change the game -- by adding a whole lot of stuff on the other side of Truman Annex. Truman Annex rightfully asked them to provide an access plan for it. The city set one up (that DOES use Southard Street a LOT more than it currently does) and the Commission UNANIMOUSLY agreed to it. That is the true history.

What started this "fight" was when the city then reneged on their own promise. Irate inaccurate tirades against the GOOD people of the Truman Annex won't change that.

TAMPOA even agreed to go much further than the original agreement, but after shaking hands on this compromise, the city AGAIN reneged even on that. No impartial judge would ever accept that the city has acted in good faith on these matters.

And THAT, my friend, is why they cannot win an eminent domain suit...

Cayo Dave said...

No, that is why the City may not win the current lawsuit.
Eminent domain is another matter entirely.

Anonymous said...

CAYO DAVE for MAYOR!!! As usual, you have hit the nail on the head squarely. Give Truman Annexers the gated community they so desire, AND Southard street continue's to be a street. I don't detect any hatred in your solution, just the responders that are pissed that the problem has been solved. I bet most in Truman Annex would bitch if they were hung with a new rope.

Cayo Dave said...

To the anonymous commenter who wrote:
CAYO DAVE for MAYOR!!! As usual, you have hit the nail on the head squarely. Give Truman Annexers the gated community they so desire, AND Southard street continue's to be a street. I don't detect any hatred in your solution, just the responders that are pissed that the problem has been solved. I bet most in Truman Annex would bitch if they were hung with a new rope.
Thank you for your comment. I am surprised by the nasty backlash my idea received. I thought my post was level headed.
I am not a Truman Annex hater as some commenters have put forth.
I am an islander - and I care about my community and its character.
I've been generous with publishing some of these bitter comments but it is getting tiring hearing people so uptight. I do like to hear differing opinion and want people to have a voice and comment.

Conchette said...

Your idea is not only thoughtful, but may have ramifications for Truman Annex and TAMPOA beyond those that were initially imagined.

Bob Kelly said...

TAMPOA, as I understand it (and I am not a Lawyer) is a voluntary association made up of representatives of several legal condominium associations such as Porter Court, Harbour Place, Mills Place, and The Foundry. The Shipyard, another condominium, doesn't appear on TAMPOA's list of associated organizations, but I think that TAMPOA does represent those owners in certain matters.

Almost all of the properties on the southern side of Southard Street are in the Shipyard Condominium. There might be a small number of units along Thomas Street that are not. Thus, a wall on the north side of the street will not be dividing real neighborhoods in two.

And, since all units on both sides were granted (or gifted?) the right to rent transiently, and since many units are being so rented, it isn't really a neighborhood any more anyway. It's a resort, or a hotel, of sorts.

The people of Bahama Village want the streets there to open into the park, sooner rather than later. At the City Commission's recent workshop on the Truman Waterfront Park, several residents spoke passionately about getting the park land cleaned up and for the fences there to be taken down so that recreational facilities for all the children of Key West could be placed there. Commissioners directed City staff to come up with a plan for doing that in the coming budget cycle.

What BV residents don't want is to be overwhelmed by automobile traffic, and truck traffic, and bus traffic that wouldn't be allowed under the draconian traffic "solution" approved under duress by a prior City Commission. The current Commission recognized that it was a bad agreement, probably illegal as it gave away policing powers to a group of private citizens.

Eminent Domain is the nuclear option. All attempts to reach a settlement with TAMPOA (and the City did try) were met with TAMPOA's intransigence on the issue of ownership Southard St. and their right to control traffic over it. Now that TAMPOA has added the United States Government as a defendant in the lawsuit and moved it to the Federal District Court in Miami, it raises the very real possibility of a taking by the federal government to benefit the City, the State of Florida, NOAA, and the Navy. Then it's TAMPOA's attorneys against the full majesty of the federal government.

How will that turn out?

Anonymous said...

Just to be factual- Tampoa does not represent The Shipyard Condominiums and the latter is not a part of Tampoa. There are multiple homes which are part of Tampoa that exist on the south side of Southard St. as well as the "shipyard park" which is land owned by Tampoa. A wall down Southard St. will divide Tampoa into two separated land parcels. A significant number of residents are homesteaded and live here year round. The "policing powers" part of the 2000 agreement was withdrawn by Tampoa and is not now part of the agreement thus the "illegal" issue no longer exists.
Just an FYI.

Anonymous said...

I see that the rest of the TAMPOA haters have shown up to add their ire against the Truman Annex neighborhood (including the Annex resident who hates the way that the vast majority of the rest of the residents oppose "her" attacks). What else is new?

You folks can repeat as often as you like how it's TAMPOA that's being intransigent, but it doesn't alter the FACT that TAMPOA offered the city virtually everything it asked for but was rebuffed. Except for late in the evening, Southard would have been open to two way traffic. The city scoffed at the offer.

And that is INDEED a problem with an eminent domain action -- it cannot proceed without the city showing that it had acted in good faith and failed. Any fair judge will clearly see that they have FAILED to act in good faith, and will throw out an eminent domain action.

The City has made no effort to solve this problem -- they've reneged on several GOOD offers from TAMPOA. You haters can continue to accuse TAMPOA of being the problem, but all it's going to do is give you ulcers....

Anonymous said...

By the way Mr. Kelly, you are right in that, after reading your eminent domain comments, it is clear that you are no lawyer.