Residents of Key West continue the fight against the cruise ship industry in an effort to protect their water and economy. Now the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships is raising the alarm over a new proposed agreement between the city and the Pier B Development Corporation. They write:
As we wrote yesterday, the City has proposed a new agreement with Pier B Development Corporation which would authorize larger cruise ships than Key West has ever seen and give a portion of Mallory Square to the cruise industry to use as they see fit.
For almost a year now, City officials have told us that any cruise limits at Pier B would come through this new Agreement. Now we see this Agreement will not only encourage a massive expansion of cruise ship operations at Pier B, but will “fully and finally resolve all present and potential disputes regarding cruise ship operations at the Port of Key West” and “WAIVE THE CITY’S RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY JURY.”
We’ve been told we need this new Agreement because the original Agreement “could not be amended unless both parties agreed.”
We’ve been told the original Agreement for Pier B is “inviolate and firm.”
We’ve been told the original Agreement is so strong that Pier B would win a $100 million lawsuit if the City tried to place any limits at all on its cruiseport operation.
But if Pier B’s current Agreement is so good for them, why do they want a brand-new agreement?
The answer is clear. The original Agreement is deeply flawed. Pier B’s modern cruiseport has never been authorized by the City. The City is in fact entitled to terminate the agreement immediately and start over from scratch. Pier B is desperate for a new agreement which will cure its legal defects and protect its cruiseport for eternity.
So why is the City so eager to give Pier B a new Agreement that it will irrevocably give up its rights to a trial by jury?
We can’t answer that question, but here’s what we’ve learned:
A new certified document presents evidence that Pier B Development Corporation is operating its cruiseport entirely outside of the parcel authorized by the City.
The Original Agreement in question (Resolution 93-405) was signed in 1994, when Pier B was still in its historic configuration. This Agreement’s “Exhibit A” includes a precise legal description of “Historic Pier B,” the parcel of real property upon which the City authorized the operation of the cruiseport. Five years later, in 1999, a new cruiseport facility was built on adjacent lands not owned by Pier B Development Corporation and not authorized by the City’s Agreement. This is “Modern Pier B.” This modern facility also includes three concrete “Mooring Dolphins” required by large cruise ships, more than 600 feet away from the authorized cruiseport.
As you can plainly see on the certified legal description sketch above and below (click for full-size attachment), the site where the City authorized the cruiseport in 1994 is NOT where the cruiseport operates today. In fact, the large cruise ship visible in the surveyor’s drawing does not come into physical contact with the authorized cruiseport site at any point. Thus, operation of the present-day cruiseport is not legally authorized by the 1994 Agreement with the City and the City is entitled to remedies in law including the immediate termination of Pier B Development Corporation’s right to operate a cruiseport.
The City should immediately withdraw the proposed new Agreement in light of this new finding. We were told that a negotiated agreement would bring smaller and fewer cruise ships to Pier B. This new Agreement does the exact opposite. And it would give new rights to Pier B where none now exist.
Please write your Commissioners, attend the 4:30pm Tuesday April 5 meeting in-person, and sign up to speak. Tell the Commission there should be NO NEW AGREEMENT WITH PIER B unless and until a Judge can determine whether or not the current Agreement is valid under the law.
Thank you for your support. We will keep you posted.
Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships
Evan Haskell, President
Jolly Benson, Vice President
Arlo Haskell, Treasurer
David Dunn, Secretary
Capt. Will Benson, Member-at-large
Contact your Commissioners:
IMPORTANT: To ensure that your comments are part of the public record, please copy City Clerk Cheri Smith [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] and ask her to attach your correspondence to the agenda.
Mayor Teri Johnston
Commissioner District 1
Commissioner District 2
Commissioner District 3
Commissioner District 4
Commissioner District 5
Mary Lou Hoover
Commissioner District 6
City Attorney Shawn Smith
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