September 6, 2017

KEY LARGO — The Key Largo Baptist Church is growing its congregation and hopes to increase its footprint at a new location. 

The church, which is located on Largo Road at mile marker 106, bayside, is seeking a minor conditional use permit from Monroe County to develop a 10,000-square-foot building on a vacant lot at mile marker 104.5, bayside, just north of Tamarind Bay Club condominiums.

According to paperwork, the new church building would be able to hold 300 church members at a time. The construction proposes to develop just 13.6 percent of the 6.74-acre property. The property would also include 90 parking spaces, a driveway, a loading area and a fenced solid waste/recycling area. 

“The proposed development maintains large areas of open space on the site vegetated with native habitat,” according to the application filed with the county. An “accessory use” for growing vegetables for church members to share is also proposed.

The church is also seeking direct access to U.S. 1 through the Florida Department of Transportation and will need that approval before the county can issue a building permit.

The county Development Review Committee has recommended that the proposed roof peak crest at 48.85 feet be revised to meet the county limit at 48.8 feet.

Also based on the DRC’s recommendations, the church plans to submit revised plans that also include a 6-foot fence, detailed vegetation buffers and lighting specifications.

The church, which had been the official sponsor of the Key Largo Bridge Run for eight years, suspended this year’s race. If the church’s application to develop its new location is approved, the race could lose the staging area at the church’s current Largo Road location.

Key Largo Baptist Church Pastor Steve Vetter said, contingent on approval of the new location, the church might eventually consider selling the Largo Road property. 

“We still have a bunch of hoops to jump through to get everything in perfect order,” he said.

tjava@keysnews.com