Background

Since 1993, when the State of Florida designated Key West an Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC), the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA)-now known as the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)-has regulated new residential growth in Key West. The local regulation that facilitates the distribution of new residential dwelling units is called the Building Permit Allocation System (BPAS). This is sometimes referred to as ROGO, or the Rate of Growth Ordinance. Through an audit completed in 2009 by the City of Key West Planning Department, it was discovered that out of the 1,093 residential BPAS units originally allocated to the City by the State in 1993, around 80 to 100 units remained. Since then, with the exception of limited affordable housing and beneficial use allocations and redevelopment of existing units, no new residential or transient development has taken place in Key West.

Hurricane Evacuation Clearance Time Memorandum of Understanding (HEM MOU)

As a result of the statewide updated hurricane evacuation modeling conducted by the State of Florida, the Hurricane Evacuation Clearance Time Memorandum of Understanding (HEM MOU) (PDF) was executed by Monroe County and its municipalities, Emergency Management, and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on August 2, 2012. Through the 2010 TIME Model, it was determined that there was available capacity in the evacuation time to allow limited new residential growth, resulting in the allocation of new residential units throughout Monroe County. In the 2013 legislative session, the rule to allow the new residential growth in the Florida Keys was ratified by the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission. As a result, the City of Key West was granted 91 new residential dwelling units-including market-rate, affordable, and transient housing-for allocation annually through July 2023.

City Comprehensive Plan

In March 2013, the Key West City Commission adopted amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan that included goals, objectives, and policies for how the new dwelling units are to be awarded through the BPAS (view City Ordinance No. 13-04). In November 2013, the City Commission adopted amendments to the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) (view City Ordinance No. 13-19). The amended LDRs implement the new BPAS application procedures and construction requirements, with heavy emphasis on green building, sustainable development, and anticipating climate change. Key West is the first local government in the Florida Keys to adopt such policies in its BPAS.