The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in the Continental United States


Lawful Unit Determinations (LUDs)

Background: On November 6, 2013, the City Commission adopted Ordinance No. 13-19. The Ordinance became effective March 2014. The City's Building Permit Allocation System (BPAS) is a growth management mechanism developed and implemented in 1993 to ensure adequate evacuation time for residents and visitors in the event of a hurricane possibly affecting the City. The BPAS is also commonly referred to as the Rate of Growth Ordinance, or “ROGO”, as the intent of the ordinance is to limit the amount and rate of new residential units approved in the City. The new Ordinance updated the existing BPAS regulations in response to the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan policies and the 2012 Hurricane Evacuation Model Memorandum of Understanding. The amendments establish an application process for the allocation of 91 new residential units to be received from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) annually for the next 10 years as well as necessary changes that allow for clarification, simplification, and ease of use for the residential development regulations process.

Lawful Unit Determination (LUD) Process – Under the new BPAS ordinance, the date a property owner must prove an unrecognized residential unit was in existence has changed from April 1990 to April 2010. The Lawful Unit Determination (LUD) application process will remain the same. However, the applicant must prove that the unit was constructed before April 1, 2010, the time that the most recent US Census population data update was published. This new date is possible as a result of the 2010-2012 Statewide Hurricane Evacuation Modeling process that used the 2010 US Census data to project hurricane evacuation times for the Florida Keys (required to be 24 hours for permanent residents), and justify the allocation of additional residential units within Monroe County. The US Census data is considered to be the most accurate population documentation available. Therefore, the Hurricane Evacuation Time Model counted all residential units existing in the city, whether recognized by the City's licensing division or not. The Census number is higher than the number of units - both permanent and transient - listed in City records. By signing the Hurricane Evacuation Memorandum of Understanding, the DEO and the Florida Emergency Management Division acknowledged these facts, which were further solidified by ratification of the Rule by the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission to allow new residential growth in the Florida Keys.

Applicants will still be responsible for proving when the unit was constructed and paying back fees for utility and solid waste services as well as impact fees.

Due to the increased number of requests, LUD applications will be processed on a first come, first serve basis. Applicants are urged to contact us to check the status of their application.