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Transient Units

posted Sep 11, 2012, 3:25 AM by Gidget Jackson   [ updated Sep 11, 2012, 3:33 AM ]
aka development rights, rv lots and campground sites

Transient units are a commodity in the Florida Keys.  Due to growth rate ordinances, moratoriums and hurricane evacuation issues there are restrictions for the number of units allowed on a site and just because you are allowed to have them doesn't mean you get them automatically.  Transient units are in high demand for the hotel/motel industry but also include RV lots and campground sites.  The Florida Keys rely on tourism as the primary economy for the islands.  From Key Largo to Key West you will find all kinds of places to stay for the night.  The number of rooms and amenities vary greatly from mom & pop motels, Bed & Breakfasts, to upscale resorts.  The Keys, as we call it here, has the highest property values in the State of Florida. This is primarily due to the location between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean - plus we are a chain of "islands".  The room rates tend to be higher relative to the type of stay compared to most other areas of the state. 

I have heard a lot of speculation about the number of transient units available but no one really seems to know the right number. The more I asked the more it seems the difficulty is in the folks that are actually using them and the ones that have the right to use them if they had a place for folks to stay on their property.  These rights follow the land.  There are many folks that had an overnight place to stay at one point or another and for some reason no longer use the overnight rights so they sit on the property unused.  Many folks believe these rights have value for their property and may or may not want to give them up.  These privately held units can be sold or exchanged to be used on another property especially if the owner decides to change the use of their current property and no longer need the rights.

In, 2012, the City of Marathon received 100 transient units from the state as a "gift" for completing the sewer system and some other things.  First they had to decide how they would determine who would get the units.  After gathering ideas from local folks in open meetings it was determined that the units would be allocated for hotel/motel and RV sites under the following criteria:
  • Maximum allocation to any one property is 25 units, or 25% of the total number of existing units.
  • One active application per individual, entity or corporation
  • $5,000 application fee
  • Demonstration of financial capability to complete the project
It's important to remember that the number of units allowed on a site does not automatically mean you have units to use.  You could have the ability to put 20 units on a site because of the size of the property or the zoning.  If you have 10 transient units on that site you will have to buy more units, if possible, to actually get to your maximum allowable units.