Monroe County to extend ROGO deadline to 2026; no action on accepting more allocations

The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met to discuss the current and future status of the Rate of Growth Ordinance (ROGO) for unincorporated Monroe County.

In 2012, the State issued unincorporated Monroe County 1,970 ROGO permits through 2023, which placed the evacuation modeling at the maximum of the required 24-hour hurricane evacuation clearance time. The County releases 126 market rate allocations a year and has enough allocation left to continue this annual rate, through 2023. It also has a set number of affordable allocations available.

After the 1,970 permits are issued, it is estimated there will be approximately 6,000 privately owned vacant parcels with zoning for residential permitting.

At the meeting, the BOCC directed staff to begin processing Comprehensive Plan and Code amendments necessary to extend the distribution of current ROGO allocations through the year 2026. This will decrease the annual allocation from 126 permits to approximately 63 per year.

This change will allow the County more time to take action to continue to acquire land and retire building rights to reduce takings liability in the future. It also allows more time to react to a new hurricane evacuation model that will be conducted by the State of Florida and should be available by 2023. The State of Florida will take the 2020 census data to re-evaluate the hurricane evacuation model to make the determination if there is room for more allocations.

The BOCC will wait to decide whether to accept the additional 300 workforce housing ROGO units offered through the Workforce Housing Initiative. If the County were to take the units it would be required to adopt policy enforcing early evacuation for the tenants during a hurricane, similar to visitors/tourists. The State has offered a total of 1,300 workforce housing units countywide. So far, Key West, Marathon and Islamorada have processed amendments to accept their respective 300 units.