14 thoughts on “Commissioner Kaufman Reveals Plans for Affordable Housing

  1. Affordable housing in a park? The Truman Waterfront Park? Come on people, get it together. The Bahama Village area adjacent to the park is already built-out, so you put some housing units in the last open space around there and then what? Then you will have ruined the park and surrounding area and you’ll still need more housing.

  2. KW and lower Keys residents – you better watch and speak out on this one! Your life may depend on it The city may be willing to sacrifice your safety and well-being for the sake of housing for business employees. Housing is desperately needed for teachers, city staff, policemen, etc BUT AT WHAT COST?

    Say the city takes 500 of those 700 ROGO’s (still ROGO’s to me) and say those 500 ROGO’s are allowed to build 10 units per 1 ROGO. That would be 5000 new additional units. If 2 people lived in these smaller units (think a large hotel room where 2 adults sleep in a double bed with a small kitchen and bathroom) NOW YOU HAVE AN ADDITIONAL 10,000 people to evacuate.

    You say ‘we don’t leave for hurricanes’ but the day will come you may want to /need to, and it is REQUIRED by law that you be able to get out of here in 24 hours or less! IT CAN’T BE DONE NOW – WE CERTAINLY CAN NOT EVACUATE WITH ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF ‘MICRO UNITS’.

    With a RAPIDLY INTENSIFYING HURRICANE such as Rita in 2005 we will not have the luxury of time to evacuate tourists and then residents in an orderly manner – it will be everyone for themselves and people sitting on US1 and bridges…. waiting.

    I will bet there are developers salivating to get their hands on 1 ROGO and build 10 micro units. Think about it – build a big box with 10 little tiny apartments and here is what clinches the deal – rent those tiny apartments for what $1000 or $1200 or however much they can? Suddenly 1 ROGO is not bringing rent of $2400.mo but rather $10,000 a month or $120,000 a year. You know the developer names that are going to line up for this one!



    The housing being discussed by the city and micro units is NOT the same as for group homes, AIDS Help or the elderly…they are looking for a loop hole in the law and this is NOT it!

    Don’t be bamboozled again. It’s not just about money and housing for vital employees to the city – its about your being able to get out SAFELY form the Keys WHEN (no if) the time comes! Pay attention as this legislation progresses. This is not of importance just to KW residents – all lower keys and even middle keys citizens will be effected by increasing density and allowing micro units to be built resulting in much longer hurricane evacuation times. I’m sure The Blue Paper is going to keep us up on the latest. Thank you Blue Paper.

  3. Throughout all of the talk about the city getting new actually affordable housing for very low and low income residents, workers especially, I have not heard of any such housing being built for people who do not already live here. That housing is for people who live here now, who cannot afford presently available housing, who are doubled, tripled, quadrupled up in existing housing, or living with friends or relatives, or in their vehicles. I just don’t see that has anything to do with hurricanes.

    What concerned me is I can envision developers, whom I just today took to calling privateers – in the old days, legalized pirates working a government and splitting the spoils of taking vessels with that government, such as the British Crown – figuring out yet another way to use whatever the city comes up with to make the privateers a lot more money, and the city still does not end up with truly affordable housing.

    Why would I hark such a conspiracy theory? Because I just witnessed the city give its affordable housing nest egg to a privateer, for the privateer’s 20 percent down payment on market rate Peary Court rental housing. The privateer got the whole thing without putting any of its own money into Peary Court, assuming the privateer borrowed the remaining 80 percent. I love what Sam Kaufman is trying to do with truly affordable housing and other things in the city, but he’s going up against the status quo, which is deeply ingrained and used to operating in its own way, and will not go quietly and peacefully into the night.

    That aside, a great deal of truly affordable housing, operated by the Housing Authority, could have been built on Truman Waterfront, instead of putting a new, expensive city park there, which will not pay for itself, which was the original requirement for the park, now abandoned.

  4. ROGO are for new rich residents who want to live in the Keys.
    The people on boats do not count as Rogo’s, work force housing do not count as Rogo’s and so some other people like 10 living in a room and hot bunking (there 10’s of these places just in Key West, KOTS, homeless…this all BS for the populations is way over what can get off the keys, and people will die. This going to be a blood bath for all the keys.
    If you want to gamble, as has been done for years – stay and that is your chance to win at life and make it big in the keys; as for safety go to Mount Dora or very high ground.
    What is good about the keys is the bodies will most likely go to a sea grave and no one will know how many really died and the TDC can brag how safe the keys are.
    The land owners, if they live here, have an airplane waiting to fly them to safety – while you believe that your safe here or on US 1 in stop and go traffic.
    This is a RED Neck, Wild West, back stabbing town so enjoy, “I DO” and I keep my bags packed and do leave before you are even told about any storm; learn to read the Satilite images and you can predict also. You without cars…well! You will be luckily to live through any thing above a “3” and I have been in storms to include Camiel “5” with 214 mile an hour winds so good luck and GOD Bless.

    So! before the next big one; can we elect commissioners and mayors who will just clean up the city and county streets and sidewalks…make Home owners clean up their yard, yes and sweep the sidewalk????
    Thank for listening!
    The last one out flush & turn off the lights….GOD I love the KEYS!!!

  5. I applaud this very well thought out pragmatic plan for the city to “allow” this type of much needed housing for the genuinely low income workers in this city.As Sloan stated these are for people already here living in horrid crowded conditions or with parents or in cars. As Commissioner Kaufman emphatically stated, this discussion has gone on for far too long.The well-heeled and powerful have been gobbling up already existing affordable housing and converting it into second and third homes for big money.Kaufman wants to save what remaining housing allocations the state allows for the low wage workers and the single service workers that are the life blood of our economy.

    I feel much the same way about this issue as the Truman waterfront park…Let’s get this going and stop dicking around. We need real affordable housing for real people…yesterday!

  6. Back in 2006, as a novice county commission candidate for District 2, against incumbent George Neugent, I was asked during Hometown PAC’s candidate forum at Tropic Cinema a question about the hurricane evacuation schedule and ROGOS. New to the county politics game, I said what I thought, which was, the Keys are a hurricane zone, and if you don’t like being around hurricanes, perhaps you should live some place else. That was reported the next day in the Citizen, and the reporter said that was an example of the kind of unsettling unspoken truths dark horse candidate Sloan Bashinsky said during the forum. I recall County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy saying a few years ago, she ran for the first time in 2006, that’s when I met her, it was unfortunate that development was tied to the hurricane evacuation schedule, instead of the two being independent and separate. It was during the 2006 race that I learned just how true that was. Anyway, bringing hurricane scare into this discussion about poor hard working stiffs, and their families, already living here having a chance to live in cheap, decent rental housing, is off topic. The fact is, Key West has long favored development for the rich, and it continues to do so, and it will be like pulling eye teeth to change that. Clearly a new public park on Truman Waterfront, for the rich and semi-rich and tourists is far more important, for example, than actually affordable rental housing for the poor hard-working stiffs, and their families. Give some thought to waking up one morning to learn there are no longer sanitation workers in Key West. In a few days you’d realized who the most important of all workers are here, and you’d be evacuating from the city to save your life from the plague.

  7. Basically I have gave up on KW. All they care about is the rich tourists and high income workers. They gave away what money they had to build TRUE affordable housing to a private buyer of Peary Court. We still do not know who is financing the other 80%. Don’t be surprised if that turns out to be the sellers. There is plan C and we will soon learn it. We drove past it yesterday and it really hit me hard to think all KW bought and got was a deed restriction. Not one dam extra unit for anyone to live in.This town is so corrupt that not even sure the feds could fix it.

    When a serious hurricane does hit this island the truth will come out. You likely already have twice the amount of people living here than can be evacuated. Count in the boat people, homeless, tourist that got here by plane or boat and all the illegal housing and over filled houses with 10 living where 4 should be and you have no chance. Many do not even have cars to leave in.

    People will not begin to leave till they believe a hurricane will be a 4 or 5 and then your out of time. You should have been been building all public buildings and schools to handle this issue and used for shelter. How many buses would it take to get the people out of here ?

    Yes , the fact is thousands will die. You live here knowing the risk. So get on with the real problem of low income housing.

    What will happen if a 5 ever hits KW ? Will any of the stores on Duval survive ? Will anyone have a place to live ? How long will it take to rebuild ? Many jobs will be gone for months if not years. This is all part of risks of living on an island.

  8. I have to correct an incorrect assumption here by saying that my Park Plan is NOT for just “rich and semi-rich and tourists.” The Park Plan is for everyone, including rich and poor AND also the people living in the Bahama Village area. In reality, the Park Plan is mostly set up for the regular folks of Key West, with a couple of things added in that our guests, tourists, can enjoy along with us.

    Something about open space is that newer arrivals to the city are “sometimes” jaded because their open space where they previously lived has already been taken away by over-development. Consequently, they don’t care to utilize or evaluate hindsight as they have given up – at least that’s what they have told me.

    BUT, we must use hindsight to give us insight into foresight. Meaning, our last remaining open space here is priceless. Build anywhere, except in our park.

  9. Do you think there will benches at the new expensive Truman Waterfront Park, or whatever it will be called, for people to sit on? When I asked Naja Girard that today, she said [sarcastically], of course not, can’t have homeless people there. I said , a great park for walking around until your feet fall off, but no place to sit down and rest and just enjoy the scenery. There actually is a great park right next door, and it doesn’t cost the city anything – Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Lots of benches and picnic tables with benches there. And, yep, homeless people use it.

  10. I agree, a CAT 5 hurricane would cause huge loss of life in Key West and the Florida Keys, but that’s been so for a very long time, and I still don’t see what that has to do with building housing affordable for poor people already living in Key West, who cannot afford a place of their own because of (a) the very high cost of living here, and (b) the low wages they are paid.

  11. Perhaps what is needed is an impact fee on any new or redeveloped property to build something high and strong enough to survive a hurricane as a shelter. This could be built cheap and simple and basically is only needed for maybe 10 hours till the hurricane passes.

    They need to get over the idea of evacuation and work on riding it out. Look at how many old houses went through many and survived. Were not even building codes back then. Unless KW starts working fast on low end housing they will have a serious worker problem. The rich need the services that low income workers supply. Choices are not great. Get a boat and live off Wisteria. I could live that way but my wife couldn’t.

    I suspect the Peary Court bullshit was in the plans a long time or the money would not have got up to 12 million. So now how will they build it ? Wake up people, this city is all about bribes. Was no need to buy Peary Court as it already was renting for top dollar. If anything the rents will go up.

    Start thinking in terms of small studio apartments and 2 bed 1 bath 400 sq feet units that can be rented for $1,000 a month so just maybe a worker could live like a human. Put the property up as down payment and start building NOW. Please get Cates out of office. Then maybe KW can survive.

  12. All the current commissioners are in a bind for we the voters let this happen and only the voters are to blame. The open greed and dysfunction is the directions that the voter allowed the old Buddha’s to dominate and throw in a few tree huggers, 1970 hippies, and really old non-functioning adults. Key West ended up with the slogan “do whatever and ask for forgiveness when caught” – So when you voters get run over by a person breaking the law – remember the law is not enforced so the TDC and KW Emergence Service can make money…Period.

    Stop worrying about workers and living conditions for the business owners will make it work, it is their job not the city.

    Voters – Hello – we need the streets cleaned, the sidewalks safe and yards clean, etc., etc., etc.. so our investment is stable or increases, we did not come to Key West to be told “who to support”, only to take our hard earned money and enjoy life!

    Plus! support whomever we want to support; not be dictated to by the government who we the voters must support. The herd of voters out there just continue to let the cowboys run ruff shod over you…You will find where the Slaughter House is located.

    Add-on to editor – Sad day in Orlando, Ft Pierce the home of the shooter is also the place where 911 pilots where trained! Just a thought???

  13. I am submitting an item for the June 20th Waterfront Park Agenda that will ask to save $170,000 by not decreasing the width of the Pedestrian Promenade (Quay Walkway) located between the USCGC Ingham and Building 103. Money is not the main object here, but keeping the full 70′ width of this beautiful and perfect-like-it-is walkway is what I hope to accomplish. I do not want to see this walkway’s width decreased by 23′-35′. Last year I was also against the painting of this walkway and since have learned that the City Commission supposedly had saved over $200,000 by eliminating this unnecessary Phase 3 idea.

    A “YES” majority vote by the members of the Advisory Board would in turn be a recommendation for the Key West City Commission to request this change to the Truman Waterfront Master Plan.

    I anyone believes that the Pedestrian Promenade should be “saw cut” down and decreased in width, speak your peace now as to why or attend the meeting where you will be able to speak before the vote takes place.

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