Time on our Hands
In last month’s President’s Message, I wrote that our community’s greatest resource is us, the people of Sugarloaf Shores. I think for once I may have gotten it right. These are tough times – many of us are involuntarily out of work, there are shortages of supplies, our entertainment options are limited, and no sports! But as of this writing (April 3), our community seems to be healthy and those of us who are here now are very fortunate to be able to continue to experience in many ways the beauty of life in the Florida Keys. I ask that you give me a few minutes of your time to preach to you. Those that know me know that one of my worst traits is that I can be blunt at times. But I would feel derelict if I did not offer some advice to my friends and neighbors (although I am no more expert than any of you on this stuff). 1. Our Governor finally gets it – We are all ‘safer at home’. Period. 2 Please don’t go out shopping or elsewhere in public merely to fight boredom. Limit your shopping trips, for your sake and for the sake of those working to serve us. And when you must go, only one person from your home should take the outing. 3. Please keep your distance – 6 feet minimum. You don’t know who your friends have been in contact with. This should apply everywhere, including on a boat. I am not willing to take anybody except my immediate family on my boat because droplets carry farther on a moving boat. There is a similar issue with being out on Marvin, 6 feet just isn’t far enough on a breezy day. 4. Wash your hands frequently and use disinfectant wipes and gloves. Have a game plan when you go out to the store or a take-out restaurant and even when you bring in the mail or a delivery package. 5. Fight boredom by exercising (biking, walking, paddleboarding, and kayaking count), Spring cleaning, doing home or yard projects, reading, watching a movie or bingewatching a show, cooking or baking, or fishing, snorkeling, or just canaling on your boat. Call your friends and family. Use Zoom for multiparty video chats. 6. There are lots of choices out there for getting outside and enjoying our sunny Spring weather. Just don’t do it in groups. Personally I think the 10-person limit has sent a bad signal. Always keep at least 6 feet apart. 7. Keep in touch with local friends and neighbors who might need some assistance. 8. If you ever see toilet paper in a store (I haven’t), please only buy one package for yourself. 9. If you can afford to, please support our local restaurants and markets for take-out meals. They are trying very hard to keep folks working. 10. Please send an email to the Governor asking him to provide State support for the checkpoints at the County line. Governorron.firstname.lastname@example.org 11. Here is a tough one for me to say, but I will say it anyway. And let me be clear that this is my own opinion, not the official position of the SSPOA board. If you own a vacation or other second home in Sugarloaf Shores and have not been down here since the crisis started, please don’t come down now. As you know, the Lower Keys have limited health-care resources and limited food and basic supplies. For those who are already here, let’s ride this out together for as long as it takes. But for those who have been elsewhere, please stay put and come down when it’s over. SUGARLOAF SHORES PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION At 8 pm each night, many of us have been blinking our house lights, making some noise, and cutting loose for a minute, in honor of those who are on the front lines during this crisis – the first responders, health-care professionals, grocery and drug store workers, and of course the victims and their families. It’s a fun reminder that we are alone together. You may have noticed that SSPOA has a new email address – email@example.com. We had some glitches with our old Gmail account. Sorry for the inconvenience. Stay safe, y’all. Be smart, y’all. Please keep your minimum 6-foot distancing. It adds a new meaning to the phrase Lower Density for Lower Sugarloaf. LD4LS! Public Policy Update (As of April 4, 2020) By Stuart Schaffer, SSPOA Public Policy Committee Chair 300 New Affordable Housing ROGOs. At its March meeting, the BOCC was to reconsider its previous decision to accept the County’s share of the 1,300 new affordable housing ROGOs that had been offered by the State to the Florida Keys governments. The March BOCC meeting was cancelled. We expect this matter to be on the agenda for a future BOCC meeting. SSPOA has written the County Commissioners asking them to reverse their previous decision and reject the 300 ROGOs or at least to instruct staff not to begin the process of enacting the changes until after the litigation challenging the 1,300 new ROGOs has been completed. US 1 Level of Service Study. Also at its March meeting, the BOCC was to address the draft 2019 US 1 Level of Service Study. The draft study concluded that the overall traffic flow on US 1 was at a level that would, under current County rules, require a moratorium on new development (other than single-family homes) in the County unless action is taken by the County or the developer to mitigate the traffic impact. The BOCC has been presented by staff with three options: (1) accept the results of the 2019 study and consider possible mitigation actions, (2) convene a committee to determine whether the 2019 study’s methodology should be tweaked and a new study run, or (3) reject the 2019 study and continue to follow the results of the 2017 study, which concluded that the US 1 level of service was adequate with no mitigation required. We expect this matter to be on the agenda for a future BOCC meeting. SSPOA has asked the BOCC to follow the current County guidelines and adopt the 2019 study. Inclusionary Housing Proposal. The County proposal to require developers of certain commercial projects to take measures to support the development of workforce housing was to have been considered by the County Planning Commission at its March meeting, which was cancelled. Under the latest version of the proposal, the new workforce housing would generally have to be located within 10 miles of the new commercial project, but it could be as far as 15 miles from the new commercial project if there is a bus stop within 300 feet of the workforce housing with service to the area of the new commercial project. SSPOA believes that the new workforce housing should in no case be farther than 10 miles from the new commercial project. Note that Sugarloaf Key is within 15 miles of Stock Island.
SSPOA President’s Message
As I thought about composing my final president’s message, pondering what to say, so many memories filled my mind. It has been an honor and pleasure serving on the Sugarloaf Shores Property Owners board during the past seven years, first as secretary, then vice-president, and for the past four years as president.
I had the honor to work with a board that is comprised of dedicated and passionate property owners who function with the best interest of our community deep in their hearts.
Whether the focus is our immediate community, Sugarloaf Key, the Lower Keys, or Monroe County, maintaining our unique community character and island lifestyle has been and will always be our primary objective. We all know that there is no other community like Sugarloaf Shores across our chain of islands.
While we have endured some challenges, the shallow injection wells of the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Project and hurricane Irma, for example, our community came together. FKAA installed a deep injection well and our residents supported each other during the clean-up and recovery effort post Irma.
Attendance at our socials and gatherings is evidence of our strong community. Friends and neighbors catching up after being away for the summer, sharing holiday wishes and cheer, and enjoying each other’s company.
Looking ahead, as I transition from the board and the community, there are more challenges ahead yet none this board and community cannot address or overcome. Whether it’s the firehouse, the heritage trail, water quality and the Driftwood/Sugarloaf Dr canal, or the housing project at the entrance of South Point, the Sugarloaf Shores community will work together to ensure the end result is what is best for the neighborhood and its residents.
There are many aspects of Sugarloaf Shores we will miss. The quiet location seventeen miles from Key West, the beautiful water surrounding the neighborhood, the bike path, Sammy’s Creek park… But we will miss you, our Sugarloaf neighbors and friends the most.
We will see you at our next general membership meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at the firehouse; social begins at 6:00pm, meeting begins at 6:30pm.
Thank you for the opportunity to give back to our community, and remember to be kind, be safe, be neighborly, and enjoy paradise!