The City of Key West is convening a committee to follow up on a recent workshop regarding sidewalk cafes. The group will meet in early July and establish some recommendations to bring before the City Commission.
A good sized group of business owners and operators turned out, concerned that the City’s fees for placing café tables on the public right-of-way are too high.
Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Jimmy Weekley and City staff listened to the concerns of the participants who worry that the cost of impact fees is too large for an industry with a small profit margin.
“The impact fees are holding businesses back from participating and are a lot to ask for a small place,” noted Paul Menta, a business owner who has been active in finding ways to keep small businesses alive through the pandemic.
Mayor Johnston noted that working together to find a way to address the concerns would go a long way in building a better relationship between the business community and City government.
Currently, impact fees are waived until October. The City’s Sidewalk Café Permit Ordinance requires an application to the planning department ensuring that the requirements for insurance and ADA have been met.
City Manager Patti McLaughlin assured the group that all of the concerns and suggestion would be considered by the committee. She is working with the commissioners and the business owners to be sure that everyone is well represented on the committee.