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‘Peace and Harmony’ Prevail in Florida Keys Controversy

August 19, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Few, if any, have ever described the years-long battle over the redevelopment of a Key Largo RV park in Key Largo, Fla.,  “lovey-dovey.”

But that phrase was used on numerous occasions at Wednesday’s (Aug. 17) Monroe County Commission meeting to describe the mood at Key Largo Ocean Resort (KLOR), now that the park’s roughly 300 shareholders have reportedly agreed on a final site plan, according to the KeysNet Reporter.

“It looks like peace and harmony has broken out at KLOR,” Chief Assistant County Attorney Bob Shillinger said.

The supposed progress — Shillinger said he’s seen nothing in writing — bought another three months for the 22-acre oceanfront park, located at mile marker 94.8. The county will hold off on terminating the park’s development agreement in that time, which officials had threatened because the park’s shareholders couldn’t seem to agree on a site plan.

County lawyers and Growth Management department staff recommended doing away with the agreement, which was approved in August 2006. The major code violations at the park had been resolved with the demolition of all the buildings there in 2010. KLOR would still be allowed to redevelop without county oversight.

“Staff doesn’t really see a need for the agreement anymore. It’s our recommendation that we let the major conditional use be the document that determines the site,” Growth Management Director Christine Hurley said.

But it appears the park’s shareholders, especially the last remaining dissenters to the new site plan, prefer the county commission remain involved in the process. Shillinger told The Reporter that if the agreement is not terminated the commission retains “ultimate approval” over the site plan.

“Maybe they see protections not apparent to us,” he said.

Eduardo Calil, who designed the originally approved site plan, is one of those dissenters. He had concerns with a new site plan making a common area out of his and other waterfront lots.

“We did come into an agreement. We strongly recommend to keep the development agreement in place. We want the commission to be involved in this,” he said.

Miami Beach attorney Kent Robbins represents the park and assured the commission a site plan has been agreed on.

“I would ask nothing be done that would upset the apple cart and hope we can come back in November with a positive report, and you’ll see we’ve come together,” he said.

Commissioners agreed, albeit grudgingly, to give the park until November’s monthly commission meeting in Key Largo to make “significant progress.”

“It might be in the best interest if we have just a little more patience,” Commissioner George Neugent said. He’s been an outspoken critic of the park in recent years.

Commissioner David Rice agreed, but made his position clear that November would be the final deadline. “There’s no question we need to get out of this. If you come back in November and things aren’t where you hoped, you can trust ahead of time you will know where my vote will be,” he said.

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