duck key

Duck Key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


March 2007

The last ranking list for permits was issued some time ago. If you want to build a dwelling on a lot you own you must apply for a building permit and go through the rate of growth ordinance (ROGO). Points are awarded based on a variety of criteria and you can accumulate points each year you are on the list.


See below the ranking chart for more on ROGO and the proposed Tier System.


Residential Dwelling Unit Pre- Allocation Ranking

as approved by the Monroe County Planning Commisssion

Middle Keys - Year 15, Quarter 1 (July 14, 2006 to Oct. 13, 2006)



ROGO to be transformed into the Tier System


ROGO - Rate of Growth Ordinance

The Monroe County rate of growth ordinance (``ROGO'') sets a limit on the number
of permits the County may issue in a given time period for residential dwellings. The
ordinance adopted in 1992 at the urging of the State divides the county into three regions, upper, middle and lower, and allows a certain number of residential building permits to be issued for each region during a
specified period of time, i.e., either quarterly or annually. The ordinance limits building permits to allow for hurricane evacuation. Permits are issued through a system that grants points for meeting environmental criteria or donating a vacant lot for preservation. Those highest on the list receive permits

Tier System

Monroe County hopes to replace the old ROGO system with a new Tier growth management system which would direct building toward the least environmentally sensitive areas. The system is designed to determine which lands are suitable for building and which are not.

As of March 2007 the Tier System proposal has been challenged in the courts and the matter is unresolved, so the county continues to issue construction permits under the ROGO system.

Parcels of land ruled unbuildable will have to be acquired by the County or State.

Attorney Jim Mattson believes the tier system will make it easier for Keys landowners to win "regulatory taking" and "Bert Harris Act" claims against Monroe County. Mattson foresees such claims will render "Monroe County insolvent within a short time and forcing the owners of developed Keys land to pay property taxes at the constitutional maximum – four times what they pay now."

Mattson from Key Largo represents landowners against government, and since the early 1990's, most of his litigation practice has dealt with "regulatory 'taking' issues; i.e., 'taking' private property with confiscatory regulations."

Mattson argues taxes will have to be increased to pay land owners fair market value and transaction costs, and that "acquiring just the the Tier One lots on Big Pine and No Name Keys will cost the County on the order of $450 Million Dollars." " . . . County taxpayers will initially see their taxes raised to the Constitutional maximum (about 4 times what they are now); then the County Commission will be removed from office by the Governor and the State will be forced to pay compensation to landowners when the County's well runs dry. (Florida counties cannot file for bankruptcy, as cities can."
Mattson writes what "What Monroe County (and Marathon and Islamorada by inheritance) have done is called a "regulatory taking."

". . . many platted lot owners whose property was buildable as-of-right before September 15, 1986, saw their lots zoned Suburban Residential that suddenly required them to have an entire acre (today, two acres) to build a single-family home. This was impossible on a 6,000 to 10,000 ft2 lot, unless the lot owner can go out and purchase a half-dozen or so lots around his. These landowners have been "deprived of substantially all beneficial use," and at some time they will have to be paid."






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