Mosquito Control nixes eminent domain suggestion

BY JOHN ANDOLA

NEWS WRITER

At its April 2 special meeting, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board (FKMCB) considered action to remain in its Stock Island facility on College Road by instituting an action of eminent domain against the City of Key West, which owns the property. The board’s attorney indicated that such an action would be possible. During the discussion, Margaret Romero, a perennial City Commission critic and former candidate for city mayor, was asked to comment on the issue. After touching on several points, her bottom line recommendation was: “Go for it.”

But the board nixed the idea that was fraught with legal and other stumbling blocks not the least of which was destroying its relationship with the City.

The board entertained discussion on the issue of the butterfly population on Big Pine and how best to determine if treatments for eradicating the mosquito population might be contributing to their decline. It was pointed out by staff that numerous fire ant infestations in the area tested actually climb up plants to eat butterfly larvae. At one time a butterfly friendly plant was introduced into the area only to find out the plant was also a favorite food for iguanas. It was determined that this issue is a complex one and will require further study.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to reviewing detailed plans for a new facility on Big Coppitt Key. This facility would replace the Stock Island facility that Mosquito Control must vacate because the City is considering other uses for the site.

Mosquito Control staff has been conducting door-to-door surveys in the area surrounding the proposed building site to be certain homeowners understand what is happening and that they have their questions and issues addressed. It was determined that no major concerns have surfaced. After a presentation by the architect, the board approved the plans to move forward on getting the necessary permits.