Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Senior housing in works

KEY LARGO -- A senior housing project needs approval from the county planning director and to close on a 2.6-acre property before construction can begin on the 47-unit facility behind the Winn-Dixie at mile marker 105, bayside.

Gorman Company is pursuing an agreement to purchase the property at 2 Blackwater Lane. Figures from the Monroe County Property Appraiser's website show the value to be about $609,000.

The company is currently completing a 36-unit affordable housing project in Islamorada dubbed WetNet Villas. It also developed the Bluewater apartments at mile marker 92.

The Monroe County Commission last month earmarked 50 affordable housing ROGO allocations for the project, but because of the property size, the planning department will allow only 47 units to be built.

The Planning Commission last week supported the release of the ROGO units for the use of low-income senior housing. The Development Review Committee has since approved the project's revised site plan, which now awaits the signature of the planning director.

Gorman would like to begin in June and says the project would take one year to complete. The one-bedroom units would be arranged in a three-story building and the development would be geared toward active seniors. It will not be an assisted living facility, documents say.

Also on the design plans are outdoor common areas including an open area for recreation. A community park will back up against an existing hammock. Approximately 50 parking spots are also in the design of the complex.

Monroe County Planning Commissioner Ron Miller said the annual income threshold for qualifying seniors is $36,000 and below.

The units will be approximately 700 square feet and run about $850 per month. One of the units will house a property caretaker. Also as part of the permit process, Gorman must pay to have a vegetation and traffic study conducted to review potential impact.

Because of federal fair housing laws, the county can't limit occupancy to current Florida Keys residents, Miller said.

"We really can't afford to build this and then have Miami-Dade people coming down to live there," Miller said.

He added he would like Gorman to market the units to local seniors.

jgore@keysnews.com

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