Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More from Bob Kelly

Bob Kelly ( http://therealkeywest.blogspot.com/ ) has consistently taken a lead role in keeping the citizens of Key West informed on important issues.
There are some that say that the story of Truman Annex, as far as the Key West community is concerned, is a sad tale of broken promises. We can only hope that the final settlement outlined below will not be a continuation of that long, sad tale.

Short notice, I know, but the City Commission will consider approval of settlement agreement with TAMPOA at tonight's Commission Meeting, 6:00 PM at Old City Hall. (March 4, 2008).

Here's a letter from one Bahama Village resident outlining her concerns that the proposed agreement still doesn't address the concerns of Bahama village residents and that it still isn't fair to the residents of Key West.

Dear Friends,

They're baaaack.

At tomorrow evening's City Commission meeting the Truman Annex Property Owner'sAssociation is requesting the Commissioners vote to permit them to put a gate atSouthard St.

Their request sounds so reasonable; that they only want to restrict traffic at certain hours. But they don't own Southard St. and have no right to block a public street, as neither you nor I can decide we don't like traffic on our street so let's put up a gate toblock it. Pardon me if I am suspicious that this is only the foot in the door of their long-range plan to direct all traffic through the streets of Bahama Village - where the streets are narrowand where children still ride their bicycles, and away from the gated communityof Truman Annex and where there are predominantly part-time winter residents, renters, and virtually no children or community. Not only does Truman Annex want to restrict access, they want the City of KeyWest to maintain it for them. And, they want 2 other streets built withn 6 months for entry and exit to theWaterfront. At issue, though, is who owns Southard St.City Attorney believes that the City cannot prove ownership because of the transfer agreement granted when Truman Annex was first built, and that title insurance was obtained on Southard St. by TAMPOA. However, for those in attendance at prior a Commission meeting, developer Pritam Singh stated publically that at no time was private ownership of Southard St. ever contemplated or sought. And, despite repeated requests, the attorney and residents of Truman Annex only proof is that transfer agreement and a title insurance policy they obtained as their claim of ownership of Southard St. It is very important that there be a strong showing from the Citizens of the City of KeyWest at this meeting tomorrow evening to let our Commissioners know what a terrible precedent giving permission to put a gate up on Southard St. sets.I personally fail to understand why they need a gate when they already have a guard houseand security personnel. If at all possible, and you have an opposition to ceding a public street to a private interest, please attend - or write a quick letter and deliver it to City Clerk Cherie Smith for reading into the records. Thanks!


I have mixed feelings on the proposed settlement. TAMPOA concedes that Southard Street can be used for two-way traffic during the hours of 6 A.M. to 10 P.M., and other minor concessions. However, the City concedes that TAMPOA has the right to place gates on both ends of the short stretch between Thomas Street and the Truman Waterfront park and to control access through the gates between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. There are rumors about that the Navy will step in and ban the gates, but there is no official statement to that effect. The discussion is sure to be heated and I can't predict what the outcome will be. My concern is that the continued litigation will continue to affect development of the Waterfront Park, something I hope to see in my lifetime.
Stay tuned.


David Lybrand said...

Just found your blog after your post to The Real Key West. And of course I found the old letter by "Suzanne" that you passed along.

That note once again bases it's entire "case" on an assumption that the road people are allowed to use through Truman Annex doesn't belong to TAMPOA. If one does not assume that, there's very little to dispute.

Though a few strident individuals continue to insist that their opinion represents everyone in Bahama Village, anyone who truly takes the time to take the pulse of the community will find that plenty of Villagers DO want to open up direct access to the waterfront. That can be done in a way that doesn't harm the Village, and the agreement with TAMPOA makes sure that most traffic will remain through Truman Annex. So what's the real beef?

It always comes back to accusations that somehow the Truman Annex neighborhood is taking something away that isn't theirs. People seem to obsess over that. As if somehow people in Truman Annex are evil for asserting their property rights. Just listen to a certain commissioner who rails on and on about it.

The fact is, most people in Truman Annex are working stiffs just like you and me, or people who worked their whole life to afford to buy a nice place. They happened to choose one in Truman Annex -- does that make them worthy of such scorn? Do you ever hear ANYONE in Truman Annex level any such bad vibes at any other neighborhood? Anybody remember "One Human Family"?

I can state categorically that plenty of Truman Annex people care a lot about Bahama Village and would do nothing to hurt it. But in the eyes of the strident ones, all Truman Annex residents must be scorned.

TAMPOA can and has shown evidence of its ownership of the property where Southard sits. The City is satisfied, the Navy is satisfied -- neither of them are contesting that fact. But for some, accepting this truth means having to admit that their hatred toward TAMPOA has been misguided.

So those haters continue to deny that TAMPOA has done any good in giving up much more than the City had originally required in the previous legal agreement (that they later backed out of), and that the current agreement really does let us all move onward to good things at the Waterfront. All they see is mysterious hidden agendas.

That's their perogative, of course, but it's a good way to get an ulcer. We'd all be better off working together, rather than holding such misplaced grudges.

Here's one place to do so: click

Concerned Neighbor said...

Actually that was one of my first posts, setting up this blog for the first time. (Bob Kelly has an interesting piece on blogs I noticed today. I'm still in the process of developing this blog, and haven't really linked it anywhere yet).
As far as the Annex mess goes, it looks like it might be almost settled. A positive approach like you suggest sounds like the best way to go at this time, so best o' luck with it.
And with the way gas prices are going, maybe all that will be rumbling through those streets will be golf carts, anyway.