News and Happenings
(Click on the topic to scroll to the item)
Fourth of July 2020
Village Votes on Our Beach
Village Limits Parking at The FILLS
FWC Lionfish Challenge
FWC Approves New Reef Survey
The PAPOA Beach Proposal
PAPOA Meetings, Rentals, and COVID-19
See the Fl Dept of Ag ENewsletter
Gator Croc Season is Here!
Beach Entrance “Contest”
Getting What You Are Paying For?
Grates, Grills & More!
Sign of the Times
Crocs, Carcasses, & Canals
Be Sure They Can Get to You
Scams, Fraud and Phishing
Renting Your House?
The Fills and Holidays
Golf Carts & The Village & P A
December Security Update
Notes from the Security Chief
Not Our Canal!!!
Building Tiki’s on the Beach
Thefts, Fires, and Unpleasantness
One Man’s Trash…
Not a Washout for Labor Day
Important August 2019 Board Action
Stone Crab Rules Change
Deputies Make a Difference!
The 2020 Version of July 4th
The Village of Islamorada has joined Monroe County in closing all the beaches, parks, and boat ramps it owns for the next weekend. This includes the Fills which will close on July 1. See the Village press release for details. For the most recent info, visit the Village website
You may expect heavy traffic on the PAPOA beach. Please be careful and considerate.
While fireworks are fun, exciting and great to watch, they can be dangerous. Please do not use the Port Antigua Beach to celebrate the Fourth with fireworks.
The number of people and boats in the Keys and Port Antigua has increased markedly over the past few years. Coupled with better enforcement of the Whale Harbor (TIKI) sandbar and other gathering spots, our beach has become a prime destination for boaters looking to party. There are anecdotal stories of Members watching boat after boat coming through bowlegs to the north and from Long Key to the south to the waters off our beach, throwing out an anchor, and then wading ashore.
The problem at the beach worsened considerably last summer which prompted the PAPOA Board of Directors to try to identify the extent of the problem as well as to determine possible solutions. Costly security patrols were increased, which helped, but a better solution is needed.
While there was a diversity of opinions, the September 2019 survey indicated that a large majority of the Members were in favor of “doing something.” At the February 2020 Village Council meeting, several individual property owners complained about the problem, and the sense of the Council was that some action was warranted. President Dave asked for time to develop a proposal that, while not ideal, might be acceptable to the majority of Port Antigua residents. The PAPOA Board of Directors developed and made a compromise proposal to the Village to place a swim zone “buffer” area between the shoreline and the anchorage. After studying this proposal and considering the enforcement requirements, Village officials decided that a 300 foot vessel exclusion zone, or swim area, would be the best way to approach the issue.
At the June 18th Village Council meeting, the White Marlin/Port Antigua issue was discussed. Council Members heard comments
Photo courtesy of Sue Miller
from both sides, those who want the proposal to pass and those who want the status quo. There are even people who want more stringent restrictions on the beach, pushing the anchorage out further than 300 feet. After much discussion, the proposal unanimously passed its first of two required readings. If it passes its second reading which is expected at the July meeting, the Village will get permits, buy the signage and lines and establish the area.
This has understandably been a divisive topic among many of our Members. We have people on one hand who enjoy taking their boats to the beach and letting the kids splash and swim around them. On the other hand, we have those who have been accosted and threatened on their own property and some who refuse to take their children to the beach because doing so would expose them to behaviors that are best not witnessed by the kids. It comes down to respecting the safety and rights of others. Unfortunately, there are people who refuse to do that and have caused the Village to respond with these restrictions.
Check the Property Owners’ page for a copy of the June 17th email sent to the membership on this topic.
Photo Courtesy of Sue Miller
Village “Re-starts” Parking Limits on the Fills
After numerous complaints at the June 18th Council Meeting, the Village re-implemented some of last year’s restrictions on the use of the popular day-trip vacation spot called “The Fills.”
Parking for picnicking and swimming will be allowed only in four designated areas. The Indian Key Fill boat ramp area will be limited to cars/trucks with trailers.
They will also be adding barricades and porta-potties. For more information, see the Village news release.
FWC Hosting a Lionfish Challenge
The FWC is looking for a few (or more than a few) good divers to compete in the 2020 Lionfish Challenge. It runs from now until Labor Day (September 7). For more information, click here.
At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved implementation of the new State Reef Fish Survey. This program expands the already successful Gulf Reef Fish Survey statewide to the Atlantic coast and Monroe County.
The program will improve recreational data collection on some of Florida’s most socially and economically important reef fish, such as snapper, grouper, amberjack, gray triggerfish and hogfish.
“The FWC is so thankful to be able to expand this already successful program. The State Reef Fish Survey provides a great opportunity for FWC to work with recreational fishers to improve data for reef fish statewide,” said FWC Chairman Robert Spottswood. “Accurate recreational fisheries data provides part of the foundation needed for realistic stock assessments and well-informed fisheries management decisions that promote conservation while meeting the needs of anglers.”
Starting July 1, 2020, if you are fishing for or harvesting popular reef fish, such as red snapper, on a private recreational vessel anywhere in Florida, you will be required to get the State Reef Fish Angler designation. This includes anglers who are 65 and older. Each month, a group of State Reef Fish Anglers will be mailed a short survey about their fishing trips.
If you already have the Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation, you do not need to sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler until your Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation expires, even if you are fishing off the Atlantic coast.
For a full list of species included in the State Reef Fish Survey, information on how to sign up and much more, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” then “State Reef Fish Survey” under the “Reef Fish” tab.
A proposal was submitted to the Village outlining the PAPAO’s recommendation. To see a copy of the letter that was sent to the membership, go to the Property Owners‘ page, and it is the first item under “Documents.” You can’t miss it. We have put some questions/answers on a special webpage to further explain this rather fluid and difficult situation. You will be able to print a one page copy of the Q&A’s there.
The responses from the second beach survey on these proposals have been tabulated. To see the results, go to the “Property Owners‘” page, scroll down to the Survey Results heading and select “Beach Survey #2.”
The three possible solutions the Board considered were to do nothing, to shut the waterfront down to all vessel traffic from the shore to 300 feet out, and to develop a compromise between these two extremes.
Option 1. Doing nothing was discounted because the situation has deteriorated to the point of jet skis and other boats running at high speeds inside the 300 foot no-wake zone and some trespassers behaving very badly, even assaulting some of the residents who asked them to leave the private property they were on. It has become a safety and liability issue for both the POA and the Village and something must be done.
Option 2. A no vessel (swim) area from the shoreline to 300 feet offshore was proposed by the Village in 2013-2014 and met overwhelming opposition. This would solve some of the problems that we have encountered but, since the offshore waters are public areas, it would equally impact Port Antigua residents. It is simply impossible to only allow our residents access to those waters while excluding the general public.
Option 3. The great compromise was developed by the Board to allow some vessel access to the beach while protecting those residents who wish to swim, lounge and play in the water. It limits the room for “party boats” to anchor, hopefully cutting down on the annoying music and noise. While the Board recognizes this solution is not ideal, it represents the best compromise. See the copy of the proposal the membership received via the USPS mail. Also see diagrams showing Option 2 and Option 3 by clicking on them or on the picture.
The Board asks for your support for this compromise as it begins to address the most onerous conditions at the beach in a manner that, hopefully, we all can live with.
Along with Annual Meeting notice and ballot, you received a letter from the Association which reviewed the expected costs of running the Association for the next 10 years. It is obvious that the income from the existing assessment ($500/year) will not be enough to cover the anticipated expenses. Indeed, there will be a $20K shortfall this year which will be covered by a surplus that we had for the past two years.
The reasons for this shortfall are: Inflation and your PAPOA Board of Directors taking a more aggressive and responsible position on both replacing our assets and providing for an emergency fund. We were fortunate that Hurricane Irma did very little damage to the Beach, cul-de-sacs, and other infrastructure we have. We may not be as lucky in the future.
Please look at the package you received. For your convenience, links to the documents are provided (the buttons). There will be additional information sent out and/or posted on this website as the proposal is fine-tuned. A vote will be held later in the year to implement our solution to this very real problem.
Gator Croc Season is Here!
While alligators in the Keys are rare, we do have crocodiles. A large one was recently seen on Lower Mat. The following article from FWC applies to gators, but is just as appropriate for our neighborhood. And please, these animals love free meals in the form of fish carcasses, so don’t discard them in the canals!
“Be alligator aware this spring! Warmer spring weather means alligators are more active and visible. The rise in temperature jump starts their metabolism and they start seeking prey such as fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds. Although alligator bite incidents resulting in serious injury are rare, it’s important to take precautions. If you’re concerned or experiencing conflicts with alligators, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR. That’s 866-392-4286. More info: http://bit.ly/ 2WoAXs4
“Living with alligators: http://bit.ly/2TBvKLM”
Beach Entrance “Contest”
We are having a CONTEST! (Well, sort of)
The pergola at the entrance to the Beach is weathered, beginning to rot in places needs replacing. It also provides too attractive a structure for people to use as a ladder for getting over the fence. We are looking for ideas. Its replacement should:
- Be inexpensive
- Be durable
- Provide an attractive and inviting entrance to the beach
- Have some shade
- Have benches for people to take off or put on shoes, or just chill
- Be free standing and not be located so close to the gate that it provides an access over the top of the fence
- Not limit accessibility to the Beach — which rules out steps and the like
- Not be constructed in such a manner that people can get injured by it.
- Did I mention “inexpensive?”
Let us know what you would like to see at your Beach! Send your suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
PAPOA and COVID-19
Updated 05/01/2020 (Recent changes are in Bold)
We have all been impacted by the pandemic that is affecting the world today. The seriousness of this crisis has recently been underscored by the several deaths due to COVID-19 in Monroe County. The safety of our residents is one of the primary mandates for which the PAPOA exists. To that end, the Association is addressing its upcoming meetings, recommending how people use the Beach, and passing along important guidance from the Village on renting your house. The April yard sale has also been postponed to a later date.
The Annual Meeting has been postponed until at least May 30th. The status of that meeting depends on when the Keys are “reopened” and the restrictions on gatherings eased. There will be an additional notice and agenda mailing notifiying you when it is rescheduled. Click on the “Meetings” button for more information. The April Board of Directors and ACC meetings were be held on the 18th via telephone. The next meeting will be held on May 18th via telephone. See the “Home” page for details.
On April 1, Governor DeSantis issued a stay at home order. This requires all seniors and those with certain medical conditions to stay at home. All people in the State are to limit their movements outside the home to essential activites.
If you should venture out for exercise and the like (yes, fishing is allowed and considered an essential activity), the State and Federal Governments have restrictions on gatherings. To encourage that we abide by these, the Board suggests that members limit the gatherings on the Beach to groups of fewer than 10 as well as take precautions when using the Tikis, grills, etc. The MCSO and FWC will be enforcing the group size and vessel anchoring restrictions. Click on the “Beach” button for more information.
On March 22, 2020, Monroe County closed the hotels, RV parks, vacation rentals, etc. For PAPOA’s position on this and how it relates to us, click on the “Rentals” button.
Local governments have established a task force to develop recommendations for when to ease restrictions and reopen. The Village website has the details. Click on “Village” button to go there and then click on the “Summary of Emergency Measures” link under their Latest News Heading.
The Board has recently been advised that some P.A. homes have renters in them and are in violation of the County mandates. Click on the “Rentals Update” button for more details. On March 24th, Monroe County released an “Enforcement Protocol” outlining penalties and procedures for making people comply with the ban on tourist in the Keys. They are restricting southbound traffic at MM 112.5 (the Monroe County line). Click on the “03/25/20 Update” button for more information.
We will update this website as the situation changes. Please take every precaution to keep you and yours healthy.
Be Sure You Are Getting What You Pay For
Your Board is working hard to keep the carts and cans off the roadside and so much improvement has been made. It was brought to our attention that some property owners may not be aware that the service providers they have hired may not be giving the service that is being paid for. Please take a look at the notice that was emailed or snail-mailed to all members in February. 2020.
For bulk items, please do not use the cul-de-sacs as this can interfere with pickup by the Advanced Disposal trucks. And you do have to call Advanced to schedule a bulk pick up. The number is 305-853-3433.
If you have any questions, send us an email.
The grills at the Beach have been replaced in time for Spring Break. After an extensive search, Bill and Caren were able to find commercial-duty picnic grills that are slightly sturdier and a little less expensive than those they replaced. Bill got several estimates and had them installed in February. The new signs on the beach look great, too.
Filipe (a.k.a. Bernie) , Dave and Oscar
at a new grill
After a couple of years (think Irma) of PAPOA asking the Village to replace the signpost that blew away, one mysteriously appeared! It was quickly “populated” with three very appropriate signs. Obviously, we do have cameras in the neighborhood, but the recent croc sightings in White Marlin and up by Robbies of a 13 footer, and the dumping of several large wahoo carcasses in the canal made the additional signage very appropriate. Thanks go to A.J. and his staff at the Village for making this happen!
Be Sure They Can Get to You (or Us)
The reason for the emergency gate to the Beach was made abundantly clear recently. In less than two weeks, emergency personnel had to gain access to our beach twice. In the first incident, FWC cut the lock to gain access while responding to the tragic boating death up at Bowlegs Cut. In the second, a person on the beach went into anaphylactic shock and had to be treated and later taken to the hospital by EMT.
If you see someone blocking the gate, PLEASE ask them to move! And, golf carts are not allowed to park there either!
SCAMS, FRAUD AND PHISHING
The Monroe County Sheriff Office has been busy over the past few weeks. There have been eight cases reported to them, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. These can be prevented if people are careful with their personal information. Don’t fall for the “Microsoft is corrupted, you will lose all of your data unless you click here,” the “Your grandson has been arrested,” or one of the many other schemes designed to separate you from your money. And don’t say it can’t happen to you – it can. Remember, legitimate government agencies like the IRS, the Social Security Office, and the police will never call and ask you to send them a gift card. Hang up if over the phone or back out of the site if on your computer. Don’t be a victim.
For the latest from the MCSO, see Oscar’s summary.
Renting Your House? Be AWARE!
A recent article in the Free Press, January 1, 2020, highlighted an issue that may affect some of the homeowners in Port Antigua. The article detailed the arrest of a Pennsylvania couple that owned and rented a condominium in Key Largo. The couple are facing felony and misdemeanor charges of theft and failure to obtain required certificates of registration.
Monroe County requires owners of rentals of six months or less to open a tourist development tax account with the Tax Collectors Office and remit a 5% tax on those rentals. The State of Florida also requires the remittance of 7.5% on the rentals as well and owners of rental property must claim the proceeds on their Federal Income Tax.
Contrary to urban legend, renting for less than 28 days, which requires a separate permit from the Village of Islamorada, does not exempt owners of rental properties from the above requirements.
The FILLS – and Holidays
After the Labor Day weekend, enforcement activity by the Village at the Fills has been limited, and while the “porta-potties” have disappeared, the unsightly orange and white barricades and no parking signs remain. The portable sign that says the boat ramp lot is restricted to vehicles with trailers is still there. However according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, when the boat ramp area is not full of boats and trailers, the deputies do not take enforcement action as there is plenty of room. They do enforce the NO PARKING areas along the Fills to help stop erosion.
The Village is currently working out a schedule for upcoming holidays and plans to have staff on hand to control access at the boat ramp during peak times. They will limit the parking in that lot to vehicles with trailers.
Golf Carts & The Village & Port Antigua
Please be sure you are familiar with and obey the Village requirements for the use of golf carts on our streets. They may be found in the Frequently Asked Questions on the “About PAPOA” page. For your convenience, you may see a summary here.
December Security Update
See the Security Flyer for more information on the incidents below!
Wind Surfer Accident. There was a tragic, fatal accident off the Beach this month when a wind surfer lost control of his kite and was carried into one of the condominum buildings on the beach.
Porch Pirates in Port Antigua? It is possible. A group of people was seen acting suspiciously in the neighborhood over Thanksgiving week.
Selling on line? Be safe and go to the Sheriff’s office to complete the transaction.
Be Smart About Smart TV’s. They can do more than entertain you – and some of what they can do is not good.
Got a Game App to Pass the Holiday Time? Know what you have.
Notes from the Security Chief:
Recently residents in nearby communities have had endorsed checks stolen from their mailbox. In each separate instance the stolen checks were whited out and another name added. The checks also had the dollar amount changed to a larger amount than the victim wrote. Subjects are still at large.
The Sheriff’s Office urges residents to take their paid bills/checks to the U.S. Post Office and mail them there.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Det. Spencer Curry at; 305-292-7060 or Crime Stoppers at; 1-866-471-8477
Mail and doorstep delivery thefts will increase during the upcoming holiday season. U.S. Postal Inspectors and the MCSO are working diligently to arrest the offenders.
Golf Carts GONE…
MCSO deputies have made one arrest so far in a series of small electric vehicle and golf cart thefts in the Key Largo area. The offender, Sean Richardson, 26 from Tavernier, was already locked up on an unrelated warrant from Miami-Dade County.
According to another inmate questioned by MCSO, who is jailed on unrelated charges, there are several people involved in stealing small electric vehicles and golf carts. The investigation is ongoing.
A reminder – keep your carts locked up and preferably out of sight. They are attractive targets not just for people who want to turn them into cash, but for kids (or others) who want to see how fast they can go on Port Antigua streets!
In the November 6th edition of the Free Press there is an article concerning Village canal restoration efforts. The article, quoting Dr. Henry Briceno, makes reference to canal 152 being “a hotspot deserving special attention”. The article mistakenly identifies canal 152 as being in Port Antigua. The actual location of canal 152 is the White Marlin subdivision adjacent to Lakeview Drive and White Marlin Boulevard.
— Dave Webb
Building Tikis at the Beach
Thefts, Scams, Fires
and Other Unpleasantness
By Oscar Callejas
Beware of scam calls. If you receive a call/text/email from someone saying they’re law enforcement or some other legal professional claiming one of your family member has been arrested, hang up immediately and call that person to verify the claim. Odds are you’re being scammed!
The latest scam involves callers saying your Social Security Number will be suspended due to unpaid taxes. Your SSN is NEVER suspended. See the SSA Inspector General’s website for more into.
The FBI reports that every year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to financial fraud through a variety of methods including charity/lottery/ sweepstakes scams, grandparents scams, romance scams, and more. Protect yourself or your loved one from elder fraud by never giving or sending personally identifiable information or money to unknown people or businesses. Report suspicious calls, emails, and letters to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. http://ow.ly/mM9m50wiGsN
MCSO presence has increased in our community thanks to their commitment in making Port Antigua safe and enjoyable for all.
However, MCSO Detectives advise residents to lock their vehicles due to recent car burglaries in the neighboring City of Layton. Detectives are concerned that thieves may be targeting residents personal identification information. Keep all valuables, including wallets, checkbooks etc. at home and not your vehicle.
Angelo Marks, 45, was charged with arson and remains at large. Anyone with information should contact MCSO at 305-853-2311 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477 tips submitted online at; www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com
A Vivid Reminder that Fiberglass Burns
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced a new awareness campaign aimed at addressing school threats made by students in Florida.
The “It’s No Joke” campaign aims to dissuade youth from making school threats, because doing so can lead to being arrested and charged with a felony.
Finally, if you “see something, say something”. Don’t forget to snap a picture or record the incident, since evidence will make your case more compelling! Remember, it’s your word against theirs, and video captures the truth.
“One man’s trash is
another man’s treasure…”
Not a Washout for Labor Day
The Labor Day Weekend was overshadowed by hurricane Dorian which kept owners busy preparing for the worst case scenario. However, once news that the Florida Keys were out of danger, many owners decided to follow their original plans to spend Labor Day Weekend in Port Antigua, more so with school cancelled in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday.
The MCSO made it possible for residents to have a safe and enjoyable time at the beach. There were no incidents reported. Fiesta Key remained closed so most of the boaters anchored off the beach were either from Port Antigua or White Marlin. The weather declined on Monday making boating and the beach undesirable. MCSO’s Deputies weren’t scheduled to work off duty on Monday. However, they did show up on duty to find the beach empty because of the weather condition.
– Oscar Callejas
Saturday – Boats at the Beach
… Sunday at the Beach vs Monday at the Beach…
Keeping a Watchful Eye
Recent Board Actions
At its August meeting, the PAPOA Board temporarily suspended the existing Beach Function Policy and adopted a new Key Card Replacement Policy.
Beach Policy: Due to some recent incidents, the Board determined that the existing policy covering private functions at the PAPOA Beach was inadequate. Therefore, the Board voted to suspend the policy while a new one was being developed. If you are planning a function, please contact us to check on the status of the policy update. If you have comments on what you think a new policy should or should not include, your input is more than welcome. Please send an email.
Key Cards: Documentation from the surveillance cameras and key card data base substantiate that some Port Antigua residents are either loaning or selling proprietary Port Antigua key cards allowing access to the common areas to non-property owners. This intentional misuse of the key cards is a violation of the community documents which restrict the use of the common areas to property owners. Additionally, use of the common areas by additional numbers of unauthorized individuals increases the maintenance costs for all property owners. The Fee Schedule, the Key Card Replacement Form and the Key Card Policy are available on this website.
ACC Issues: Finally the Board would like to remind everyone that the front setback requirements outlined in the covenants include canopies/awnings and any other structure between the dripline of the home and the street. If in doubt, please send us an email.
Non-Residents Enjoying Your Ramp
Thanks for letting us know, Esther!
Oscar has the numbers from Sheriff Enforcement activities on the Memorial Day weekend. As expected, the increase in patrols did increase the number of violations. (See the table below.)
We ask all residents to video incidents and not get into a confrontation with trespassers or any others who are involved with annoying incidents. If you see something, nicely say something, and/or contact the Sheriff. Do not take matters into your own hands (even if your in a group). Keeping the peace and enforcing the law is why we have the MCSO for holiday weekends.
Violations On Memorial Day Weekend.
14 Beach Property Trespassers,
19 Boat trespassers.
TOTAL TRESPASSERS: 33
Boat Stops: 18
Boat Citations: 10
Arrest: 1 Reckless boating
Traffic Stops: 20
Golf Cart Stops (Juveniles) 10
Violations On Fourth of July Week
TOTAL TRESPASSERS: 13
Boat stops: 6
Boat Citations: 3
Boat Warnings: 3
Medical Emergencies: 2
Vehicle Tows: 2
Fireworks shut down: 2
Please join us in keeping Port Antigua a safe place for our families and visitors!
Sheriff Deputies Make a Difference!
The Memorial Day Weekend saw enhanced law enforcement in Port Antigua to prevent trespassing violations, traffic regulation infractions, and unruly behavior.
While the focus was on safety, the Deputies were mindful of the desires of the residents to enjoy themselves but not at the expense of their neighbors and fellow Association Members.
Unfortunately, there were several arrests (not Association Members), summons issued and more than one trespasser escorted off the property.
On Friday, a group of juveniles was seen passing a picnic table over the beach fence on one of the adjacent vacant lots. When the Deputies confronted them, they admitted to not being residents and said they were from Key Largo. They were escorted off the beach and advised not to return.
Sgt Johnson Watches for Trespassers
Trespassers lift a table over the fence
In another incident after a Member opened the gate, she stopped a young adult from entering the Beach. The would be intruder angrily stated that they had “lived here my whole life….” But they could not even provide a local address!