Jabour’s Trailer Park along the Key West Bight may soon house a hotel, restaurant and retail shops – if an old court mandate holds up under current laws, according to The Key West (Fla.) Keynoter.
Prospective buyers Everett Atwell and Derek Parker want to redevelop the prime property, home to a few roaming RVs.
“They’re proposing in the ballpark of 90 units and one restaurant and a retail area,” said City Planner Ty Symroski. “The restaurant and retail area would total about 10,000 square feet. And they would have the Walden Guest House converted back into a single-family house.”
“That’s a really big piece of property,” said Assistant City Manager John Jones, who has been instrumental in the redevelopment of the Key West Historic Seaport. “It’s the last major piece of property to develop there. Several plans have come up over the years, but there’s always some controversy or something always comes up.”
History repeats itself.
“I’m not sure whether they can do it or not,” Symroski admitted. “That land has a long court history. They have all these old approvals from the city, going back to ’84, and there are court cases from the early ’90s. And they have a vested right from a court case in 1995.”
That vested right is the loophole that may allow redevelopment of the site.
“The vested right is for 100 transient units, one manager’s apartment, two 150-seat restaurants, and retail space,” Symroski said.
The grandfathered use of the property allows for more transient units than current code allows.
“The density allowed is only 35 or 40, so that’s a big difference,” Symroski said.
“Code says that when you redevelop, you’re allowed to have all the units, but you have to put them in place so they don’t require variances,” Symroski noted. “I don’t know how much the vested rights modify that.”
Symroski wants to take the proposal to the City Commission before any plan moves forward.