Keys could look like a campground as RVs replace damaged homes during rebuilding

The Lower Keys could resemble a campground in the coming months as residents with damaged homes look to rebuild.

On Tuesday, Monroe County said recreational vehicles could be used as temporary housing on properties during home reconstruction, but only under certain conditions.

In order for an RV to occupy space on a lot a resident must have a permitted home that is uninhabitable and new hookups — like water — must be approved by the state Department of Health.

The Florida Keys were hit hard by Hurricane Irma, which made landfall the morning of Sept. 10 at Cudjoe Key about 20 miles north of Key West. The county has estimated that 20 percent or more of the homes in the island chain were badly damaged or destroyed by Irma’s Category 4 winds.

The lower half of the Keys, from Mile Marker 73 south took the brunt of the storm and received the most damage. Though the storm hit nine days ago, residents weren’t permitted in the Lower Keys until Saturday morning. On Tuesday morning the final roadblock at the entrance to the Florida Keys in Florida City was removed.

As of Tuesday, all of the Keys remained under a curfew and health managers continued to warn about swimming at its beaches or drinking the water. Power was still being restored throughout the Keys.

The plan to park recreational vehicles on driveways outside of damaged homes isn’t a new idea. South Miami-Dade was flooded with them in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew tore through and homeowners and contractors began to rebuild.

If a Florida Keys homeowner plans on purchasing or renting an RV while doing home repairs, permits will be required to fix homes and for the placement of the RV. Monroe County said RVs can only remain on properties for 180 days.