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Visualizing Density...

Most of these projects reflect densities BELOW the current maximum.  The proposed density bonus will exceed the existing maximum anywhere in the county.  Imagine 40 units per acre (NEW per GOAL 111) – double or triple what's pictured below! 

Mariner's Cove, Key West

(27 units per acre)

A similar structure was recently proposed on Summerland Key –not 1 building, but 14 buildings with 150+ units and no green space. As suggested by SMART GROWTH PRINCIPLES (below),

"Develop workforce housing within existing employment centers."

Shrimp Farm Development, Summerland Key

In Spring of 2017 the Monroe County Planning Commission UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDED REJECTION of this project –
citing wrong location (30 miles to major employment centers), concerns about traffic on US1, and issues with density and zoning. With proposed Comp Plan Changes, this sort of development could be approved without protest!


Smart Growth Principles

Preserving open spaces like wetlands, mangroves, upland hardwood hammocks, and aquaculture areas is both an environmental issue and an economic issue.  Preserving open spaces can make communities more resilient, protecting them from natural disasters, combating air pollution from increased traffic, protecting water quality, and protecting animal and plant habitats.  Encouraging high density development does exactly the opposite – a terrible idea!

Developing workforce housing within existing employment centers, rather than building in distant low density areas and on previously undeveloped land, makes the most of the investments we’ve already made in roads, bridges, water pipes, and other infrastructure, while strengthening local tax bases and protecting open space. 

Encourage zoning changes and other public policies within employment centers like the recent increase in building heights on Stock Island to make this approach more attractive for developers rather than encourage high density in the our low density communities. County leaders can and should change policy to encourage development within existing employment centers.

Encourage community collaboration rather than eliminating community participation in development decisions.  Every community has different needs, and meeting those needs requires a different approach from place to place. The needs of every community and the strategies to address them are best defined by the people who live and work there. Demand that the BOCC listen to the residents of the Lower Keys and preserve our low density rural character as mandated in our Livable CommuniKeys Plan (LCP). This plan was developed by Lower Keys residents and represents their vision for the development of their community. The plan was adopted by the BOCC and must be followed.  

Furthermore, smart growth is not possible without the perspective of everyone with a vested interest in the Lower Keys community. Smart growth is about building a future for a community that everyone can participate in, and gathering the ideas, feedback, and support of everyone in a community is the only way to do that. This process is not only inclusive and equitable, it also will give projects built-in support and staying power. Eliminating community meetings and eliminating the 4/5th protest vote requirement does exactly the opposite – a terrible idea!

Helping businesses attract talent, improving the day-to-day lives of their employees, and reducing traffic on US1 by developing workforce housing within existing employment centers

Short commuting distances, high-quality public transportation, and safe and convenient biking and walking infrastructure already exist in Key West and Marathon. Help businesses attract talent and improve the day-to-day lives of their employees by reducing transportation costs and commuting times. Encourage workforce housing development in these employment centers. To make this happen, the BOCC must change how they prioritize, select, invest in, and build workforce housing. Incentivizing developers to build high density housing in locations distant from employment centers does exactly the opposite – increasing transportation costs for employees, wasting employee time commuting long distances, and increasing traffic congestion and delays on US1.

For more information go to Smart Growth Principles at:

16* Rules for 'Smarter' Smart Growth


MAY 1, 2013 (*Excerpted below are points for non-urban areas)

  1. Purge the term NIMBY from your language & thinking...
    NIMBYs sometimes have a point.

  2. Respect community planning. 

  3. Integrate with the surrounding community. 

  4. Respect neighborhood character & identity. 

  5. Increase density incrementally. 

  6. Conform to existing "smart" retail corridors and centers. 

  7. Design for human nature.

  8. Integrate nature into the community, especially at the neighborhood scale, as with pocket parks, green infrastructure, street trees and the like. 

  9. Integrate green technology into buildings and infrastructure. 

  10. Employ universal access and age-friendly design. 

Let's Be Smart...

This is where it all began -- the first flyer reviewing the flaws of increased density in the Keys and Goal 109.  Goal 109 was later defeated, but Goal 111 with it's similar density increases was approved.  The information about density is still relevant.


Download this one-page document you can share with friends, neighbors, and colleagues that succinctly explains the issues, shows images of the problem, and provides our web site address.

Click the document to print a PDF copy to share!


Join our cause.

Our voice is stronger when we speak together.

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