Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Key West City Commission Meeting

Tonight, the Key West City Commission met and is played live on local televisions. It is part comedy, part country politics, and part tragedy.
Put up before them - a proposal by owners of affordable housing developments to further restrict the affordable provisions about to expire. In exchange for a ROGO unit (a building permit that has become the ultimate currency of the Keys) they'll keep the units affordable for 25 years more. Commission moans, then groans. Developer offers 50 years. Commissioner Menendez asks for someone with a magic wand to come forward and fix the housing problem. Mayor is satisfied...Motioned, 2nded, passed. The city doesn't really realize that it's foundation is shaking. At one point in the discussions, a commissioner decried that it would cost a billion dollars to buy up the property necessary to solve the affordable housing crisis. Someone replied, nah - but it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is what needs to be done. The sooner, the better. Is still don't understand why the city can't appeal to the state, get some rogos for affordable housing, and buy some land and build the units themselves. Forget the private developers doing anything other than big ticket housing. And couldn't we do it cheaper anyway? The city will get some money back in rent...Actually, since the city is in perpetuity, it will eventually get paid back. And in the process, it could save the community's ability to function. So, in the city's future is spending hundreds of millions of dollars for housing, they just haven't come to terms with it.
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