letter to the editor

Affordable Housing

by Walter LaGraves…….

Dear Editor:

It is a very good thing that more and more folks in our lower Keys are irate about the affordable housing situation.   Hurricane Irma brought this Gordian problem into stark focus. One can only hope that in the ’18 election cycle that in the field of BOCC candidates there will be one or more candidates who have the courage to tackle this mess.

On Big Pine Key alone there are at least 50 rental units that advertise vacation rental on the web. We all know that renting for less than 30 days is illegal, nonetheless, the ordinance is ignored…and it is rarely enforced. Many websites actually advertise daily rentals in residential neighborhoods.

Contrary to the views of many elected officials, our Keys are not totally tourist oriented. There are bedroom communities and retirement communities.  Between Big Pine Key and Big Copping Key, (BOCC Dist. 2), there are virtually -0- tourist attractions, save for a very few charter and dive boats.  It is the Keys version of suburbia.  You will find only residential neighborhoods.

I propose that we elect commissioners who will change existing ordinance so that vacation rentals are completely outlawed from Big Pine to Key West. That ordinance should be replaced by a Miami Beach ordinance that permits renting in residential neighborhoods only for a 6 month minimum.  This to accommodate the many Snowbirds that love these Keys as much as you and I do.

So doing would immediately put many score, probably well over a hundred, housing units on the local rental market. Market forces would immediately drive down the cost to rent those units. The property owners, most of which I suspect are not Monroe voters, would still be able to rent and to make a profit on their property.

In very short order, hundreds of vacation rentals would come on the market for long-term renting at affordable prices.  This could be a major part solving the dilemma of so many middle-class persons who simply can’t afford to live and work in our Keys.  It will not cost the taxpayer a cent.

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3 thoughts on “Affordable Housing

  1. I would certainly support such an ordinance if elected to represent the Lower Keys. In fact, I will make it a part of my platform. Thank you, Walter. You make compelling points.

    It’s too bad that the luxury vacation houses on beautiful Sunset Drive can’t get their yachts into their private docks during low tide since hurricane Irma washed some sand into the mouth of their sandy canal. Google Earth shows the canal remains deep enough for skiffs.
    Those houses were wrongy built a few feet above high tide on a sand dune on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. They block the view of, and the access to, that lovely tropic shore. They paid to own that shoreline and to remove it from public usage.
    The fault for the canal blockage can be laid on the county land use regulations for stupidly permitting ANY buildings there. The fault can be laid on to the developers who callously disregarded the vulnerability of the product they were putting on the market. And the fault can be laid on the owners who could see the sea and the shifting sands on their doorsteps.
    But who are the [mostly wealthy, mostly absentee] owners petitioning to pay for the dredging of the sand from their foolish canal? They’re crying “poor” and demanding that you and me, through the office of FEMA, use our tax dollars to bail them out.
    This is typical of the stinginess of the owning class who want public moneys to assist their luxury housing while denying public funding for workers’ basic shelter! Let THEM bear the burden of their OWN folly.

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