Developers to appeal denial of Key Largo housing project

They will appeal a denial by the Monroe County Planning Commission to the state Department of Administrative Hearings

Key Largo (Source: TripAdvisor)
Key Largo (Source: TripAdvisor)

The developers of a 28-unit rental housing project in Key Largo plan to appeal a vote by the Monroe County Planning Commission to deny approval of the project.

The developers needed at least four of the five members of the county planning commission to approve the housing project, called Southcliff Estates.

Commissioner Ron Miller, one of four commissioners who voted on the project, cast the lone dissenting vote. (Commissioner William Wiatt did not attend the commission meeting when the vote was held.)

Miller said the developers should revise their plan for Southcliff Estates to allow access to U.S. Highway 1 for residents and to create a denser vegetative buffer between the development and its neighbors.

The developers, Frank Pla and Rick Riehl, plan to appeal the commission’s denial to the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings.

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If their appeal is successful, a special magistrate judge in Tallahassee could order the county planning commission to reconsider its vote on Southcliff Estates, or order the Monroe County Commission to approve the development.

Mayte Santamaria, senior director of planning for Monroe County, said developers have appealed only six decisions by the planning commission in the last five years.

Southcliff Estates would be an 11-building development at mile marker 95 with 28 apartments, including 11 apartments designated as affordable workforce housing, plus 60 parking spaces. Monthly rents would start at $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Opponents in the Sunrise Point residential community obtained signatures from 37 of 51 people who own property within 300 feet of the Southcliff Estates site and oppose the development.

That was enough to require a super-majority vote by the Monroe County Planning Commission to approve the development. [The Keynoter]Mike Seemuth