Collier commissioners consider guesthouse rentals in Urban Estates

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Affordable housing is a hot topic in Collier County.

“It’s a crisis situation in Collier County– affordable housing,” said Tim Aten, senior editor for Gulfshore Business and Naples Press.

Last week, commissioners moved forward with a plan to allow Urban Estates homeowners to rent guesthouses to address a critical shortage of workforce housing.

“Right now, you’re allowed to have family members live there, rent-free, but you’re technically not allowed to rent without, even though people do,” Aten added.

He said the issue of affordable housing has to do with the cost of land in Collier County.

“And that’s one of the problems we’re calling it has, has such a high AMI, area median income, because a lot of it is the land cost,” he said. “The cost of living here is higher.”

He said developers can’t make up the difference.

“If you’re a developer, you want a good return on investment,” he said, “so you’re not going to give away property, you know. Unless you really do have a philanthropic bone, and you’re with this, you’re doing it out of the goodness of your heart, which a lot of times it’s a business, and you can’t really, you know, fault them for wanting to make a buck.”

People like Maegan Kouba worry about possible traffic.

“We need to provide more places and more roads and more infrastructure to keep up with the economic growth that’s happening out in Golden Gate Estates. We’re not going to stop it as much as people want to say that we will,l as much as they want to make us a city. That’s not going to do anything for us, besides raise our taxes,” Kouba explained.

“I don’t think there’s been enough publicity about how this would operate,” said Collier County Commissioner Burt Saunders.

He voted against guesthouse rentals, so WINK News asked him why.

“I don’t think that property owners would seek to rent their guest houses for a lower rent than what they could get in the market,” he said, “so I don’t think it really addresses the problems that we have with workforce housing, but it does. I do think it creates the problem of additional traffic.”

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