Collier Commissioners change rules for affordable housing projects under Live Local Act

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez
Published: Updated:

Anyone wanting to build affordable housing in Collier County under Florida’s Live Local Act will have to deal with a few new rules.

“I was disappointed to see them do this,” said Joe Trachtenberg, former chairman of the Collier County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.

“We have promoted affordable housing, we have promoted that this is what we want, yet we pull back,” said Elizabeth Radi, lead advocate for the Collier County Tenants Union.

Under the Live Local Act, a developer with a qualifying affordable housing project can obtain the highest density allowed in the county.

“This was going to be an important vehicle to attract developers to Collier County,” Trachtenberg added.

Collier commissioners unanimously approved changes to the county’s approval process, saying PUDs won’t automatically be eligible for more density or height, unlike properties zoned only for commercial, industrial or mixed-use development.

“We went through each one of the points of the Live Local Act and made policy decisions as to what we feel best benefits our community,” Commissioner Bill McDaniel said.

WINK News talked on the phone with Commissioner McDaniel. The maximum allowed density for affordable housing projects has been reduced from nearly 92 units per acre to 25.

“But it’s going to have to go through a public hearing process in order to attain the additional density. We’re going to have to have the additional debate,” McDaniel explained.

Trachtenberg said these changes will drive affordable housing out of the county.

“They’re going to go to Lee County, they’re going to go to Broward, they’re going to go to Miami, they’re going to go to St. Pete, all the other counties where there’s wonderful affordable housing being built and built in the income levels that we actually need it at.”

Changes to the law will take effect next month. The hope is these changes benefit developers, while restricting local government’s power to regulate affordable housing.

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