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City wants to put duplexes behind new utilities building

This is the 1.2-acre plot where the city wants to put affordable housing on 104th Street oceanside, near mile marker 52.5.
This is the 1.2-acre plot where the city wants to put affordable housing on 104th Street oceanside, near mile marker 52.5. Keynoter

Framework has started — in the form of discussion — to put affordable housing units behind Marathon’s new 104th Street utilities building.

City officials met Tuesday night for a workshop and pinpointed what they want for affordable housing on the 2.4-acre oceanside plot nearest mile marker 52.5. The utilities building started going up late last year and should be done by fall. It takes up 1.2 acres.

That leaves a small slice of land on which to put 20 units or 10 duplexes, it was decided.

Meeting moderator and City Manager Chuck Lindsey said much of the design will be left up to the developer. A request for proposals to build the housing will go out in the coming weeks as a result of the workshop and a bid could possibly be awarded by October, said City Planner George Garrett.

“We’re going to weigh heavily on duplexes,” Lindsey said, adding a maximum 20 of the city’s affordable housing units will be reserved for the project, which equates to 10 duplexes.

Every residence has a certificate that is an inherent permit allocation and if a unit is demolished, the development right remains with the former structure. The city has a limited number of affordable housing permits but more can be obtained from Monroe County.

Council members decided the duplexes will be targeted toward people with incomes between 60 and 120 percent of the median annual income. The median annual income in Monroe County is $64,400 for a single person or $98,133 for a couple. Garrett said the duplexes will be built for ownership, not for renting.

A single person making $38,640 to $77,280 would be a target member of the community, or a couple making $58,879 to $117,760, to buy the duplexes.

“This middle group of people who work here and live here is the income level we are interested in,” said Mayor Dan Zieg.

“There is a great need for the home-ownership opportunity. In the 60 to 80 percent range is where we find the group of hardworking community members having the hardest time,” said Christine Todd Young, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys.

She sits on the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force, members of which were also at Tuesday’s workshop.

Marathon resident Peter Chapman, who recently built a house on 104th Street, pointed out that a left-hand turn cannot be made from 104th Street because of the median on U.S. 1. If each unit has a car or two, that will create a lot of traffic and U-turns at the intersection up the street, he said.

Ingress and egress options will be part of the RFP, Garrett said. There will be more information when it is released.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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