Developers recently submitted an application to build an 88-unit affordable workforce housing project on Lower Sugarloaf Key. The proposed development would be located at the entrance to the South Point neighborhood, which contains around 100 single-family homes. The development thus would nearly double the population of this community. Existing development on Lower Sugarloaf Key consists only of single-family homes, low-density commercial, Sugarloaf Lodge, and a firehouse.

The community opposes this large apartment project. The developers of the project have labeled us as NIMBYs. But this is false. We oppose the project because it would be too large and dense for this location. The development would bring into our community hundreds more vehicles, most of them trying to make a left-turn onto U.S. 1 at an uncontrolled intersection. This would make an already unsafe traffic situation even more difficult and dangerous.

We support affordable housing for Keys workers. But the housing needs to be the right size for its location. There is already an affordable housing development on Lower Sugarloaf, consisting of nine single-family homes. We have supported several small affordable housing projects now under development on nearby Keys – 20 units behind Sugarloaf School, 16 units in Coco Palms trailer park on Cudjoe, and 16 Habitat for Humanity units on Cudjoe. These are all appropriately sized developments for those Keys. And we have supported large affordable housing projects located much closer to Key West.

The developers have said in their application that their project will not have an adverse impact on the nearby community because it will have a Keys-style design and will be landscaped with native plants. But the fact remains that this will be a large, highly dense, 88-unit housing development. The vast majority of the residents of the project will be commuting to Key West or Stock Island, adding hundreds more vehicle trips onto a stressed portion of U.S. 1 each day.

If the proposed South Point housing development were a more appropriate size for this location, we would not oppose it. In fact, we would support it.

Stuart Schaffer

Lower Density for Lower Sugarloaf LLC (LD4LS)

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