Sarasota city leaders to further discuss affordable housing

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SARASOTA (WWSB) - Housing costs in Sarasota have gone up 40% between 2012 and 2018, but income has only risen by 7%, according to Sarasota’s city manager. Now, the city is looking at options so the people who work in Sarasota can also live in the area.

City commissioners accepted the Florida Housing Coalition’s 12-point Action Plan at its meeting on December 3, acting as a blueprint to create more affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is an asset in your community and it should be looked at as a part of your infrastructure,” said City Manager Tom Barwin.

The plan suggests encouraging more flexibility, re-purposing old buildings, and developing an employer-assisted housing program. Commissioners will also consider making changes to zoning and density to keep workers of all demographics and income groups living in Sarasota.

“This can include teachers, public safety officers, nurses, people in medical profession, people in the arts, people in the media, so that’s an important segment of our population,” said Barwin.

“The really critical part for us is implementing it in a way that best fits our community,” explained Commissioner Hagen Brody.

State law requires local government to a provide a variety of housing options as it anticipates more people moving to the area. The city plans to make the most of government-owned land and embrace workforce housing as we approach the end of 2018.

“It’ll be a big important issue in 2019 as we put our new years resolutions together,” said Barwin.

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