Sarasota City Commission talks affordable housing options

Sarasota Affordable Housing crisis
Sarasota Affordable Housing crisis
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:09 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota City Commission discussed a plan Monday that would create a new zoning classification providing incentives for developers to increase the amount of affordable housing within the city limits.

The new classification, in essence, would allow developers to increase the density of homes in a given development, provided a certain number of affordable homes were included in their plans.

However, a majority of citizens speaking at Monday’s meeting were wary of the plans, saying the public has not had enough opportunities to provide input on the plan. Most who signed up to speak wanted the commission to delay approval.

Much of the public comment at Monday’s meeting urged the city to solicit more input from the public before approving any ordinance.

Sarasota resident Orin Collins represented the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations. “All this ordinance does is Increase base density and promise to look at affordable housing another day,” she said.

Collins noted that nothing in the proposal would require developers to offer any affordable housing other than small studio or one-bedroom units, which families would not be able to use. “This is not a hypothetical problem,” he said.

Meanwhile builders are anxious for the commission to approve the plan. “We’re 20 years behind,” demand for affordable housing in Sarasota,, Mary Dougherty, of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, said. “We can’t continue to talk. We can’t continue to delay. While we talk, these families continue to struggle,” she said.