Changes in development proposal for Keys’ Wisteria Island

In the next week, Monroe County residents will discuss the latest proposal surrounding the controversial development of the privately owned and uninhabited Wisteria Island in the lower Florida Keys.
F.E.B., a partnership between the Bernstein and Walsh families, owners of Wisteria Island and Sunset Key respectively, recently revised their plans for the residential development of Wisteria in order to satisfy the requirements of the county’s planning commission.
In addition to creating a new land-use category for Wisteria Island, the new F.E.B. proposal also provides more concrete information regarding the extent of the island’s development.

The proposal is very specific in its language and delineates that no more than 40 residential homes and 35 hotel units would be constructed on the island.

“There are strict caps,” said Owen Trepanier, a private planner for F.E.B. “There is no wiggle room.”

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Traditionally, residents of the Keys have been less than supportive of the island’s development, citing dangers to the wildlife and additional logistic problems onshore as reasons to forgo the proposal.

In order to appease concerned residents, the latest plan states that 45 percent of the island will remain untouched as undeveloped “open space” and another 10 percent will be dedicated to a “public access recreation area with a beach.

The county’s Development Review Committee is scheduled to meet with the developers Nov. 8 to discuss the new proposal. [Keys News]