KEY LARGO -- The neighbors of a planned apartment complex for senior citizens aren't very happy.
"I've received about 20 emails from people who are concerned about the property," Planning Director Townsley Schwab told the Free Press last Friday.
The 47-unit development is to be built at mile marker 105, bayside, behind Winn-Dixie.
Schwab sent an email to the residents last week, mostly of Stillright Point, explaining the approval process.
The project has already received affordable housing allocations from the Monroe County Commission.
The final decision on the whether the project can proceed lies not with the Monroe County Planning Commission but with Schwab, since the project only requires a minor conditional use permit.
"I explained to them how and if they want to file an appeal or request a hearing," Schwab said.
Emilie Stewart, a nearby Blackwater Lane resident, said many of her neighbors oppose the project. In addition to possible traffic problems, Stewart questioned whether the area can treat the additional sewage.
She said she has talked to an attorney and may take action if the project proceeds.
The developer, Gorman Company, is pursuing an agreement to purchase the 2.6-acre property at 2 Blackwater Lane and intends to use Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding to complete the project.
The units would be approximately 700 square feet and run about $850 per month. One of the units would house a property caretaker.
As part of the permit process, Gorman must pay to have a vegetation and traffic study conducted to determine potential impacts. The initial application was brought before the Planning Department in August.
Planning Commissioner Ron Miller, a Key Largo resident, told the Free Press his biggest concern is that the apartment complex might end up serving seniors from the mainland rather than locals.
But federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination, which means prospective tenants can come from anywhere as long as they are seniors who qualify under the low-income criteria.