duck key

Duck Key in the Florida Keys image

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys
























The Tom's Harbor Keys



Tom's Harbor Keys for Sale at $2.9 Million - The two islands located approximately 300 yards south of Duck Key and about 46 acres in area are for sale. which are south of Duck Key's Harbour Island are for sale.

Environmental Gems - These keys most likely were included with Duck Key in 1832 when James Audubon described visiting a group of islands called the Duck Keys.

A special website promoting the sale of the islands provides attractive photos and says,

"Escape the hustle and bustle of city life, become the ruler of your own private island empire, search for buried treasure, conduct your own "Survivor" contest, build the ultimate sand castle, conduct corporate retreats, or skinny dip in complete privacy. Owning a private island in the Florida Keys is only limited by your imagination."



Below is a text and image ofa newspaper article dated July 24, 1981 plus the text from minutes from several Duck Key Property Owners Association Newsletters from 1981.



DKPOA President in 1981 was Web Gokey


April 25, 1981

Tom's Harbor Development

Since the last written communication to all of the membership on 18 February, much has happened. The Committee has been working hard looking into various aspects of the proposed development and talking with many people. On 12 March additional letters, based on the committee's evaluation and investigation, were sent to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation and the Army Corps of Engineers to further urge that a Public Hearing be held. On 19 March the Association, and others who had written, received from the Department of Environmental Regulation, a letter indicating the Department's "intent-to-issue" a permit unless within 14 days a petition showing how the proposed project violates specific laws and regulations was filed. On 26 March a DKPOA informational meeting was held at the Indies Inn, The meeting was attended by 33 DKPOA members. At the meeting Dr. Arthur Weiner, a biologist experienced in Keys' development and hired by DKPOA, gave a biological assessment of the Tom's Harbor Keys. Mr, Lynn Kephart, the Developer's agent, gave an outline, with plans and pictures, of the proposed development. The conclusions reached at the meeting were that DKPOA did not have sufficient hard factual proof to substantiate filing a petition for a hearing; to continue the exploration of purchase of Tom's Harbor Keys as a nature preserve; and if funding for acquisition appears to be inadequate, to look into the purchase of a legally binding contract with the present owner limiting the location, type and extent of development. On 26 March, Mr. Jon Krupnick, a lawyer and new member of the Tom's Harbor Committee, did file a petition for a hearing. The latest information from the Department of Environmental Regulation indicates a public hearing will be held at some date in the future. Additional actions by the Committee are in progress. results are pending and will be reported on at a later date.


NEWS ARTICLE - July 1981

image of Fishing camp article on Toms Harbor Keys


Fishing camp plans are debated

Key Largo - Proposed development of a small, environmentally designed "fishing camp" on a pristine island near Duck Key was the center of a state hearing here Friday.

Those objecting to the development of onde (sic. - one) of two Tom's Harbor Keys charged the construction would adversely affect fish and wildlife populations in the area, and would eliminate the last undeveloped oceanside island in the Middle Keys.

Backers of the outlined development testified the "camp" would have a minimal impact on the island's environment. Officials of the state Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) agreed.

The hear ing was called to note objections to the DER's intention to grant certain development permits the one Tom's Harbor Key in question,

Presiding over the hearing was the man who may have the last word on this phase of the debate, state hearing officer K.N. Ayers. Mr. Ayers indicated he will file a ruling in approximately 30 days on the matter.

As proposed, the fishing camp development would consist of a dock, a wooden walkway over mangroves, and seven small "cottages." Six of the raised cottages would be built on an upland area outside of the DER's jurisdiction, but one cottage, the walkway and the dock require DER permits for construction.

The island would remain isolated from the surrounding Keys, with all transportation to it by boat. There would be no sewer, water or electric connections, instead relying on chemical toilets, a cistern and a generator. The owner of Tom's Harbor Keys, Ohio resident Richard Stander, was not present at Friday's permit hearing. He was represented by an attorney and the fishing camp's designer.

Leading the objectors was Fort Lauderdale attorney John Krupnick, a landowner on Duck Key.

Mr. Krupnick contended the islands' owner and would-be developers filed an application for the permits which contained "misrepresentations of fact." "I think the (permit application) is fraudulent," he declared at one point in the hearings. Specifically, he found fault with the developers' proposal to mechanically drive several dock pilings instead of drilling holes by hand or water jet as listed in the application.

Attorneys for Mr. Stander and the DER contended that change was inconsequenial and found an apparent ally in Mr. Ayers.

"I don't see where (the mechanical driving) makes any difference," commented the hearing officer.

Mr. Krupnick also maintained that the camp, listed as being for the private enjoyment of Mr. Stander and friends, was drafted as a commercial development. He cited a letter from a Marathon realtor to Mr. Stander, discussing a proposed fishing camp, as evidence.

James Hendrick, an attorney representing Mr. Stander, successfully argued the letter was not sufficient grounds to make any judgments. The letter was marked for identification, but not entered into evidence.

Lynn Kephart, planner of the fishing camp, said after the hearing that he knew of no plans to turn the camp into a commercial enterprise. Any such alteration would involve several major zoning changes.

Duck Key resident Dr. Crawford Adams testified against the development, saying, "Whenever there is any kind of large or small development on this kind of island, there is an impact on the (fish and wildlife) population."

Joining in the objection was Capt. Richard Grathwohl, president of the Marathon Guides Association. Capt. Grathwohl said the development could lead to a sharp decrease in the number of gamefish - such as bonefish and permit - in the immediate area of the Tom's Harbor Keys.

Mr. Hendrick contended that neither of the two witnesses seeking to stop the permits were qualified to speak as biologists.

He asked Dr. Adams and Capt. Grathwohl, "What kind of comparable developments have you seen?"

It was generally agreed by all sides that there are no comparable developments, featuring raised cottages and walkways being built on a pristine island.

Eric Loken, the DER environmental specialist who recommended the issuance of the permits, testified, "This type of project we're talking about uses a very small percentage of the productive habitat in the area."

He added, "There should be sufficient habitat remaining for all the affected species."

After the hearing, Dr. Adams said Duck Key property owners were not the only persons objecting to the development. He pointed to supporting letters from the Florida Keys Guides Association and the Pelican Preservation Society of Florida.

A letter from Ed Davidson, president of the Florida Keys Audubon Society, expressed "grave concern" at the thought of the island development going commercial.

However, Capt. Grathwohl was the only non-Duck Key resident to attend the permit hearing. Nine residents of Duck Key attended the hearing, not testifying but entering their names into the record as objectors.




October 10, 1981


Toms Harbor Keys

On 24 July 1981 the public hearing requested by DKPOA member, Mr. Jon Krupnick, attorney at law, was held in Key Largo. In addition to Mr. Krupnick, there were 14 other DKPOA members present headed by the Toms Harbor Keys Committee Chairman, Dr. Corky Adams. As a result of the hearing, the hearing officer "recommended that Richard K. Stander be issued a permit to construct an 80-foot wide perimeter dock with nine (9) 15-foot-long perpendicular finger piers; to construct a 30-foot by 28-foot caretaker's house; and to construct approximately 1350 feet of six-foot-wide elevated walkway connecting seven (7) proposed 30-foot by 28-foot wood cottages to the proposed dock in Tom's Harbor channel in Section 20, Township 65 south, Range 34 east, Monroe County, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Turbidity screens shall be utilized during the jetting of pilings for the dock;

(2) No live-aboard boats shall be allowed;

(3) No sewage or fuel facilities shall be permitted;

(4) No structures other than the boardwalk and the caretaker's house shall be located in Department of Environmental Regulation's jurisdictional wetlands;

(5) No cutting, clearing or alteration of DER's jurisdictional wetlands shall be permitted beyond that necessary to install and maintain the boardwalk and, caretaker's house. Clearing for the boardwalk shall be restricted to the width of the structure,"

The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation issued the permit on 23 September 1981.

Additionally, on 18 September 1981, in response to a DKPOA letter, an administrative ruling was received from the Monroe County Director uilding, Planning and Zoning stating "we do find Tom's Harbor keys' to he isolated islnads (sic islands) in the connotation of the GU District". (GU District zoning permits fishing camps on isolated islands, Tom's Harbor keys are zoned GU).

Our sincere thanks are due Corky Adams and his committee' members for all the ork they contributed in coming to grips with the various details of the proposed development that were of concern to so many of our members.

A special vote of thanks is due ion Krupnick for the time, effort and legal expertise he donated in advising, and in proparation (sic preparation) for the public hearing.

The results of all these efforts is a set of conditions placed on the proposed construction on Tom's Harbor Keys. If these conditions are not adhered to, construction can be halted through the DER representative in Marathon, Mr. Glenn Roe. If anyone believes these conditions are not being met, after construction starts, please inform Mr. Boe (who was present at the public hearing) and DKPOA.



Back to [ Website Index] [ Archive Index ] [ Main Community Index ]