Former Grassy Key dive bar, tackle shop making way for 14 houses, marina

rmccarthy@keynoter.comJuly 12, 2014 

The run-down former home of JoJo's bar on Grassy Key would be torn down as part of a proposed 14-house development approved Tuesday by the Marathon City Council. The project includes an adjacent convenience store, marina and fuel pumps, trailer parking and a public boat ramp.

RYAN MCCARTHY

One of the city of Marathon's biggest eyesores is slated for a major overhaul in the near future.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a conditional-use permit and development agreement for the former JoJo's of the Florida Keys and Nomad Outfitters on Grassy Key near mile marker 59.

The owners of the former dive bar and adjacent bait and tackle shop -- also long shut down -- joined forces for a project that would involve constructing 14 single-family homes, a convenience store with fuel pumps, a marina and a public boat ramp.

The council wasted little time approving a project that was recommended by Planning Director George Garrett and unanimously approved on June 16 by the city's advisory Planning Commission.

According to the site plan, nine of the 14 single-family homes would be built along the Atlantic Ocean on the 5.08-acre property. The remaining six would form a semi-circle to allow for a central community area.

The convenience store, dockage, fuel pumps and boat ramp would be adjacent (to the east) to the homes.

Mayor Dick Ramsay said he's "thrilled to see the project move forward."

"I'm thrilled that both entities were able to join forces and we're looking forward to seeing 14 nice homes on property," he said. It "represents a new opportunity for both residents and tourists to have an oceanside boat ramp, with fuel, in that area, which is long overdue."

Jason Tobin is a principal in JoJo's of the Florida Keys and Carter Bates is the principal at Nomad Outfitters. Attempts to reach them were unsuccessful.

Private planner Barbara Mitchell, working for Tobin, told the council the future homeowners would have access to the marina dockage. "It's a project that's mutually beneficial to both of them," she said.

The conditional-use permit and development agreement will come back for a final hearing at the July 22 council meeting.

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