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ZONING CASE STUDIES - 201 DOGWOOD
201 Dogwood: What is all the Hubbub?
In April 2021, in a quiet working class neighborhood on the oceanside of the Old Highway on Upper Matecumbe, the residents are speaking up and speaking loudly. A single-family zoned lot in this close-knit neighborhood has become a commercial parking lot for the nearby Islamorada Beer Company on US One.
How could this be allowed? The Village zoning regulations couldn’t be any more clear-cut:
From Sec. 30-684 of the Village Code, the purpose of the residential single-family R1 zoning district is to accommodate homes, homeowners' parks, and open space in single-family residential neighborhoods
And what uses are allowed, certainly no mention of a commercial parking lot or any other commercial use:
1. Single-family detached dwelling unit;
2. Multifamily attached or detached single-family deed restricted affordable housing of up to four dwelling units on lots fronting U.S. 1;
3. Where an "M" sub-district designator is indicated, only dwelling units of masonry construction; and
4. Accessory uses and structures, excluding guesthouses.
Uses reviewed as a minor conditional use.
1. Homeowners' park and associated facilities;
2. Infrastructure and municipal utility facilities; and
Uses reviewed as a major conditional use. None.
Seems clear enough that this is not a legal use of this residential lot and therefore is a violation of the Village code. End of story.
No, apparently it is not the end of the story! The Director of Development Services at the Village, Ty Harris, has the authority to interpret our code. But, how in the world could anyone interpret these uses in a way that would allow a commercial parking lot to encroach into a residential neighborhood?
Citing a section of the code related to parking lots, though clearly unrelated to this issue, Mr. Harris claims that the Beer Company has every right to use this residential lot as an overflow parking lot to accommodate the expansion of the business.
It is our opinion: this is a clear case of the Village zoning code being violated. This commercial parking lot use in residential zoning is not a permitted use. But, wait. Mr. Harris is in charge of Code Compliance too! Come on Mr. Harris. The residents of Islamorada deserve better.