November 6, 2019

KEY LARGO — Abit Holdings, the owner of five undeveloped lots at mile marker 103.9, will go before the Monroe County Planning Commission at 10 a.m. Nov. 19 to request a Suburban Commercial zoning change that would allow for a mix of retail and residential uses.

The land is currently zoned as Improved Subdivision, which would allow only the construction of homes.

The applicant, however, says the development of five market-rate dwelling units with U.S. 1 frontage in this mainly commercial area is not consistent with development principles.

The vacant parcels abut residential parcels lining 1st Road, also owned by Abit Holdings. The developer is asking the county for a zoning change as well as a Future Land Use Map amendment from Residential Medium to Suburban Commercial for the properties.

The partially cleared parcels are considered least environmentally sensitive and are designated Tier III.

Abit Holdings would prefer the ability to mix commercial development with the possibility of workforce housing.

“A non-residential development with the potential for five residential affordable or workforce housing units is compatible with U.S. 1 Highway frontage,” the application says.

The proposed zoning change will allow for a smooth transition between the highway and residential uses in the Largo Sound Village neighborhood, the applicant contends.

Some residents, however, have taken to social media to say that the development would overcrowd the subdivision and that the lots have served as a school bus stop.

The traffic study submitted with the map amendment application says 366 daily trips onto U.S. 1 would be generated in a 9-hour day from a 10,000-square-foot building. There would be 38 trips during a typical afternoon.

The five adjoining parcels were purchased in July 2013 for $475,000 each, according to the Monroe County Tax Appraiser’s Office.

The planning commission is to hear the request at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102, bayside.

7-Eleven project pulled

In other development news, Bravo & Partners, which submitted paperwork to Monroe County proposing a 3,750-square-foot 7-Eleven with 12 gas pumps and eight two-bedroom workforce housing units at the bayside property just beyond the traffic light at mile marker 99.4, withdrew its application on Oct. 23.

Residents took turns at a recent public meeting saying the 7-Eleven would add too much traffic to an already heavily congested area where southbound traffic can back up for about a mile due to the traffic light even during light weekends.

The traffic study submitted to county planners revealed 617 daily trips would have been generated by the development, far exceeding the maximum within the designated “Downtown Community Center.”

tjava@keysnews.com