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An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


























December 2004

The Wall Street Journal

To buy a ocean front home on a seven lot estate parcel on Duck Key one might expect to pay around $5.2 million.

An article by June Fletcher in the The Wall Street Journal of 12/7/2004 entitled "Marooned, With a View", suggests that buying a island could be a better deal.

The focus of the article was how technological advances had made island living a possibility - "at least for some millionaires and recluses"

The article listed the Tom's Harbor Keys among private islands on the real estate market. The price shown for the two Tom's Harbor islands was $2.9 million and the description stated,

"These two islands, totaling 46 acres, have been in the family of Dr. William Scherer, a Boca Raton physician, since 1968. He's selling he says, because it would cost at least $1 million to develop the property, which has natural sand beaches - but no utilities."

Through out the world there are some 500,000 to 600,000 islands in existence with about 400 islands generally for sale at a given time.

The article states " . . . in the Florida Keys, . . ., an island must be at least 10 acres before a homeowner can put up a home, unless the building permits have been grandfathered."

There is no mention of ROGO as another impediment to building in the Keys in the article.

Additional information on the history of the Tom's Harbor Islands may be found at Tom's Harbor Keys



January 2005

Key West Citizen

Another article of interest to Duck Key resident appeared in the Key West Citizen.

The reader learns from the article about Key Haven Estates that

"Developers seek to bypass growth limits" and construct "43 new homes and 10,000 square feet of commercial space on 'Enchanted Island' and along the southern boundary of Key Haven."

This was deemed "potentially possible," according to Monroe County planning staff. A related news article in the Citizen indicated the developer's plan "received overwhelming support from Key Haven residents. It also appeared to receive cautious support - with caveats from county planners."

For 250 plus land owners in the lower keys plus 28 or more land owners who have submitted permits to build in the Middle Keys and must wait their turn, the news that the developer of Key Haven Estates seeks to bypass the rate-of-growth ordinance should be very disconcerting. Called ROGO the ordinance limits the number of building permits issued each year and permits are awarded on the basis of a score determined by environmental and conservation criteria.

 Link to the list of Duck Key applicants awaiting permits under the ROGO system. The List is for period April to October 2004. A new list which is longer will be available in early February 2004.
No permits have been issued since June 2004 due to a lawsuit filed by an environmental group.


Key Haven Estates proposes that they be awarded 43 building permits "in exchange for upgrading" Key Haven's sewage treatment plant to advanced treatment standards by 2006.

Does this sound familiar? Residents of Duck Key will recall that the Singh Corporation proposed sewering the residential island of Duck Key in exchange for the right to build 28 additional villas. Meeting considerable opposition Singh later obtained transferable building rights in Marathon and went on to build the 28 units anyway.

The Citizen article also reported that in a memo to the Planning Commission, a planning administrator wrote, "Neither the 2010 [Comprehensive Land Use] Plan nor the county code provides authority to assign ROGO market-rate allocations outside of the competitive allocation process."

Planning Department staff also noted that an earlier 1997 agreement to build duplex units stipulated to the Department of Community Affairs that permits for the project would be awarded through the competitive ROGO system.

One can sympathize with the Key Haven residents and understand that the present proposal is better since it replaces prior proposals which called for a 100 plus unit hotel, a restaurant, clubhouse, recreational and office facilities, a marina, swimming pool, and 17 single family homes. Earlier proposals dating from 1989 were rejected.

Planning staff acording to the Key West Citizen recommends approving parts of the proposal and reject other items, including the exemptions of ROGO.

The Key Haven Estates item was continued until the Planning Commission's Feb. 9 meeting.





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