City sort of meets developer in the middle for proposed apartment complex

rmccarthy@keynoter.comJuly 12, 2014 

The Marathon City Council and developers of a proposed "moderate-income" rental housing development along U.S. 1 near mile marker 50.5 reached a compromise Tuesday.

The council agreed to award Palm Beach Gardens-based Eastwind Development nine valuable market-rate building permit allocations in exchange for a much-needed 106-unit addition to the city's rental pool.

Tarpon Harbour, as it will be known, would consist of 53 two- and three-bedroom duplexes. Of the 106 units, 44 would be market-rate and 62 would be for income-based workforce housing.

The council was unwilling in late May to grant Eastwind's request for 19 market-rate units, but did agree to part with 43 affordable-housing permits from its pool of 80-plus.

On Tuesday, the council met Eastwind in the middle and agreed to borrow forward nine market-rate permit allocations, provided the developer secures 10 on the open market.

That's in addition to 25 rights it obtained in purchasing the 12.86-acre parcel. The building allocations would come via the city's Building Permit Allocation System, whereby it can dole out as many as 12 market-rate and three affordable units twice per year.

Tarpon Harbour would be allowed to use all nine market-rate permits immediately, but the city would award them by setting aside one unit in each of the next nine months.

In addition, the council approved strict provisions written by Planning Director George Garrett for borrowing forward units. He suggested projects be more than 50 percent affordable units, that those units be deed-restricted in perpetuity, no vacation rentals are allowed and leases of at least 181 days are required for each unit.

33rd Street reconstruction

In other council business Tuesday, Garrett revealed the results of a land survey conducted on 33rd Street in Marathon to determine which government entity owns property on that block.

The city has long expressed interest in either tearing down or refurbishing the Marathon
Jaycees building on 33rd into a community center of some kind.

The County Commission in June 2013 didn't support conveying its adjacent AARP building to the city, which offered to let the county continue its senior services in perpetuity, free of charge, in the proposed new building.

According to the survey, the county and city property lines meet in the middle of the AARP building. "Thus, realignment of these properties will be necessary at some point in the future," Garrett wrote in his staff report.

In addition, Garrett noted the city would pursue U.S. 1 improvements in the area given Monroe County's plan to construct a new library at U.S. 1 and 35th Street.

They include creating a four-way intersection at U.S. 1 and 33rd Street to include better access for Fishermen's Community Hospital; establishing a center lane from the entrance to the Marathon Community Park to 33rd Street; and creating a westbound left-turn lane at the park entrance to increase safety for those turning into it.

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