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What You Need to Know About Building in the Keys

Building in the Florida Keys is highly competitive and is regulated by the Rate of Growth Ordinance, or ROGO. Anyone interested in purchasing land in the Florida Keys, or even those considering purchasing a home who may want to make additions, needs to understand ROGO. ROGO is meant to limit the growth of real estate in the Keys as well as its population by limiting the amount of building permits that are issued every year to just approximately 250, issued quarterly. If you plan on building in the Keys, it is imperative to understand how to go about obtaining the building permit that you will need.

The ROGO cycle can take years, so it is important to file early or find a property that is already ROGO ready. The first step is to submit an application at a county building office in either Marathon, Plantation Key, or Stock Island. Depending on where your property is located and how it is designated, your application needs to earn a set amount of points before a building permit can be issued. Tier III, the most common, is buildable land and requires 30 points. Earning the necessary points can come by several methods, both active and passive. Properties awaiting a permit receive an average of 2 perseverance points annually. More active approaches to earning points include fund donation, land aggregation, land donation, or environmental propositions. Land in environmentally fragile areas are more difficult to build on, with particular restrictions placed on building in Big Pine Key and No Name Key.

Once the appropriate number of points have been reached, the application becomes eligible for approval. Of the applications that reach fruition each year, approximately 250 will receive building permits.

Though the ROGO process may seem strict, it is vital to maintaining the sensitive ecosystem that defines the Florida Keys and make it such a wonderful place to live.

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