The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners will hold a special workshop on Jan. 30, 2019 at the Marathon Government Center at 10 a.m. to discuss preliminary ideas regarding the current and future status of the Rate of Growth Ordinance (ROGO) for unincorporated Monroe County.
In 2012, based on modeling, the State of Florida concluded that in order for unincorporated Monroe County to meet the required 24-hour hurricane evacuation clearance time it could be issued 1,970 new ROGO (building) permits. (Each of the Keys municipalities also has its own limits of ROGO permits to issue).
In 2012, unincorporated Monroe County had more than 8,000 privately owned vacant parcels remaining.
As 2023 approaches, the County is developing strategies to address the number of vacant parcels that potentially exceed the total number of ROGO permits that the State will allow the County to award. Currently, there are approximately 1,059 ROGOs (630 market rate and 429 affordable) left to be awarded in unincorporated Monroe County and significantly more than 1,059 vacant lots remaining.
Policy 101.3.2 of the Monroe County Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2016 and states that the County will reevaluate the ROGO permit distribution schedule after July of 2018 if substantial financial support for land acquisition has been provided by State and/or Federal partners.
Over the past two years, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has spent more than $2 million to acquire parcels of vacant land and retire development right using funding from the 2016 Florida Keys Stewardship Act. These state land acquisitions – combined with the County’s nearly $10 million spent on land acquisition for conservation, density reduction and affordable housing – has helped reduce the County’s potential liability for vacant buildable parcels that exceed the number of ROGOs available.
The BOCC will discuss the possibility of slowing down the distribution rate of available ROGO permits to make them last past 2023. This strategy would provide additional time to implement land acquisition and other strategies to reduce the demand for ROGO allocations and help transition land into public ownership.
Discussion also will include other preliminary ideas for policy changes that could help the County reduce potential takings liability in the future.
Public comment will be held during the first 30 minutes of the workshop. The County Commission will take no action at this workshop. More public meetings will be held on this important and complex issue.