The county wants to hear from YOU about ROGO!

Emily Schemper, Senior Director of Planning and Environmental Resources for Monroe County joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

The Rate Of Growth Ordinance (ROGO) has been a big topic recently.

Schemper said, “Kimberly Matthews, the strategic planning director, she’s been running some meetings and also putting together some surveys to try to gather information. The second survey, I believe, of what will be several is online now on the county website. If you look for the ROGO update page on the county website, there’s a survey. It’s pretty short. It’s to gather some extra information about where people in the Keys live, work, their housing costs, and what types of things may affect their ability and desire to keep living in the Keys. So we’d appreciate everyone check that survey out and get Kimberly some extra data on that.”

What were participation rates for the last survey?

Schemper said, “I want to say I saw a number from Kimberly saying it was about 1,800 responses. I could be off, but it was quite a few. So I think she’ll talk about that next week at the commission meeting on July 17.”

There is also a Publix project and potential housing development in Tavernier.

Schemper said, “I know there’s been a lot of chatter about this one. So I just wanted to clarify what steps are still coming for the project. Florida Department of Commerce issued a final order rejecting it at first, but they’ve reversed that now. So an amended final order that approved the ordinance. This ordinance just set up an overlay district on the zoning map that would allow a large store like that. So there are several steps to go through. I believe the final order now this amended final order that approves it would make it effective in another week or two, there’s still a challenge period going. But after that they are moving forward with a comprehensive plan amendment that allows the affordable housing portion of the project to receive ROGO allocation, permits from our limited ROGO pool receive those from the early evacuation pool that we received from the state following Hurricane Irma. Those have been set aside for future liability of the county and none of those have been given out within the unincorporated county yet. There were 300. So they’re working on a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow them to use those at the site for the affordable housing portion of the project. So there are some extra steps before that Publix and of course, the housing would even would go to permitting. So that should be at the planning commission in August and the BOCC would look at that in September, and then again in December. So we’re looking at the end of the year before the final approval would come in for that comprehensive plan amendment and also a couple of other applications that are running concurrently to get them all set up to move forward. Any new units within the unincorporated county need to pull an individual ROGO unit permit from our pool and we have a pool of affordable housing allocations that are similar to your normal market rate units, except they have the income restrictions and rent restrictions. Otherwise, they’re treated exactly the same as any other single family home or condo. But we have a separate pool, there are about 300, affordable housing allocations that are set aside for workforce that lives in the Keys and that would agree to evacuate early. So in that earlier phase of evacuation when the tourists, the mobile homes are called then actually. So we refer to those as our early evacuation ROGOs, but they are not adopted in a way that allows us to just give them out to applicants right away. It has to go through a different process. The Publix site wants to use those so the board would have to update the comp plan to allow that.”

The next BOCC meeting will be July 17.

Schemper said, “I always encourage people to come to the July BOCC meetings, well all of the BOCC meetings, just to kind of hear what’s going on. You can look at you can watch those by Zoom or come in person. So July 17 in Marathon.”