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Community alliance

Advocacy For Residents, Education and Preservation

You’re going the wrong way, Village Council!

Until 12 years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a lovelier section of the Overseas Highway than the span of roadway between Upper and Lower Matecumbe – what we locals call the Fills. It’s our little slice of one of America’s Scenic Highways. This two-and-a-half-mile stretch is a visual and environmental gem, including a marine sanctuary.

Instead of being protected, it was allowed to become a popular outdoor play area for day trippers from all over South Florida.

Year after year the crowds and pickup trucks grew, especially on summer weekends, spending the entire day in and out of the water, with no restroom facilities, tearing up the seagrass beds and mangroves, and leaving their beer bottles, coke cans, chip bags, you name it, behind when they left.

Nationally-recognized scenic highway

A hard pill to swallow, most Councilmen are willing to let a version of it happen again under the guise of “less is more.”

After wasting more than $55,000 this year with a consultant’s plan to turn the Fills into a real deal destination spot, complete with bbq areas and pavilions, the public roared back: “Not no, but heck no!”

So, the Council sent the consultants back to the drawing board. And what did they come back with? A new plan is brewing that goes against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of villagers, yet again.

More is more

The new plan would allow for more than 40 official parking spaces, new kayak launches, a boat launch in a different location, relocation of roughly four miles of the Heritage Trail (walking and biking path), and metal guardrails running the entire span of remaining roadway “to assure drivers recognize there is no parking.”   

By allowing folks to gather, this Council is replacing one environmentally damaging headache with another. Mind you, all this will also require tax dollars for guardrails and staff to oversee the time limited parking, the No Swimming signs, the No Pooping in the mangroves rules, and cleaning up the garbage left behind.

These are the exact same Councilmen who say they don’t have enough manpower to merely enforce the NO PARKING signs.

Speaking of guardrails

At the last Council meeting, several councilmen wrongly, yet adamantly, insisted that FDOT required the guardrails regardless of what the Village ended up deciding. When knowledgeable members of the public pushed back at the assertions, the councilmen were unpersuaded.

Following the meeting, members of the Islamorada Community Alliance got the facts provided to the Village that came from the regional director of FDOT and head engineer.

As we had told them, FDOT would not require the installation of expensive guardrails if no improvements were made to the stretch. See the attached regulations.

Guardrails are used when there is a “Drop-off Hazard,” generally a drop off of 6 feet or more. Except at the entrance to the bridges (where there are already guardrails) the Fills are almost completely flat to the mangroves near the waterline.

Put down the check book

Ideally, our elected officials would be rational beings who consistently adjust their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors to align them with new information that is essentially incontrovertible. But that is not the case here.

Whether it’s ego, stubbornness, or simply not caring, four of our Councilmen are just not doing what is required. And they appear willing to spend more tax dollars while claiming, “This is a good deal.”

Vice Mayor Rosenthal has insisted from the beginning that the “no parking” signs and enforcement of the signs would be adequate. He wanted to try just getting rid of 1,000 ugly orange cones and forget unsightly and costly guardrails. His plan would cost taxpayers virtually zero tax dollars!

The Council must listen to Henry. He’s got the right answer and it’s the will of the public. Win. Win. Can we get rid of the cones, tents, and canopies, end the littering and trampling of our precious environmental resources? Just provide a couple of pull-offs (one in each direction) with short term parking for folks to make a quick stop, take in the view and snap a few photos?

Visitors welcome, but not on the side of a highway

The Village of Islamorada has more than a half dozen public parks that are open to everyone regardless of whether they live in Islamorada. There are also four state parks in or very close to Islamorada. 

The residents and taxpayers have done their part. It is past time for the Village Council to do theirs.

Our vision

To enhance the community of Islamorada by preserving the quality of life of the residents as well as the beauty and vitality of the native ecosystems and to stop any further degradation of our community from over-development.

Mission statement

To provide the Islamorada residents with information about events occurring in our community that will impact our quality of life, preservation of our native ecosystems, land development, lawful and transparent governance.


Your tax deductible donations allows the ICA to keep you informed about important events that will impact and help protect our quality of life, our neighborhoods, property values and native ecosystems. Your donations make this possible and are most appreciated.

Contact Us

Islamorada Community Alliance

P.O. Box 1507

Tavernier, FL  33070-1507


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