A move to scale back Monroe County development rules for lands designated under the federal Coastal Barrier Resources System doesn't go far enough for some No Name Key homeowners.
At a July 31 meeting of the Monroe County Planning Commission, No Name residents Beth Ramsay Vickrey and Kathy Brown objected to a draft law that still "discourages" spending county or state money on areas in the federal Coastal Barrier Resources System, like No Name or parts of North Key Largo.
"You're putting something on the books that creates the same legal situation we just got out of," Vickrey said in public comments. She called the revision "unenforceable" and "ridiculous."
County staff recommended a resolution supporting the rewritten amendment to the county's comprehensive land-use plan go forward as submitted. The Planning Commission agreed on a 4-0 vote with little discussion.
Currently, county law "prohibit[s] the extension of utilities to or through areas designated as units of the Coastal Barrier Resources System" -- generally natural or minimally developed coastlines.
Monroe County contested the recent extension of electric power lines to No Name Key but dropped the case when it became evident that court rulings were favoring the expansion. Running sewer pipes to some residential areas on North Key Largo also seemed to run afoul on the county's coastal-barrier prohibition.
After hearing from staff and consultants that most undeveloped Monroe County land in coastal-barrier areas are classified as Tier 1, county commissioners this spring agreed to move toward softening the "prohibition" language in county rules. Tier 1 lands are natural areas where getting county building permits is very difficult.
The staff's revised policy, still subject to change by the county commission, says "facilities and services shall be discouraged" in coastal-barrier areas. Those could include potable-water pipes, telephone lines and electricity. Sewer systems were specifically excluded in the revision.
Brown and Vickrey contended the rule should not apply to areas where housing already exists.