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Tallahassee, Leon County look to incentivize affordable housing developers

Posted at 7:41 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-17 19:41:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Leaders with the city and county said there needs to be a push to provide incentives to developers to build those affordable units.

Tallahassee City Commissioner Curtis Richardson said it will be mutually beneficially for all involved.

"It has to be economically feasible for them as well," Richardson said. "They are going to be working with staff to help us craft a policy that makes it beneficial for them because they are in it to make a profit, earn money, but also help us address the housing need in the community."

City and county leaders look to address the housing crisis by offering incentives to developers to create affordable housing. Something that local developer Karlus Henry said has already helped him help others.

"We are really a resource rich community. We have various affordable housing incentives for developers," Henry said. "There is a small developer loan fund that they have to help build capacity for small, minority, developers and contractors to get into affordable housing."

Affordable housing that could be beneficial to the 30,000 cost-burdened households in Tallahassee, meaning those families spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

To close that gap, the county and city are considering incentives like allowing more units in developments, quicker permitting processes, flexible lot layouts, reduced parking requirements and removal of fees.

These ideas all came out of the work the committee did last year in their 2022 annual report.

Additional incentives to help developers like Henry provide more opportunities for families around the city.

"It makes me feel real good and I think we're spoiled here as affordable housing developers here in Tallahassee," Henry said. "We go to different parts of the state and our country and they don't have as many incentives and resources as we have here in Tallahassee."

This is not the only outcome of this meeting. The county and city also discussed the $3.4 million from the Live Local Act, a bill that just passed through the Florida legislature that will give more funding to affordable housing projects. 

Something that Richardson said is long overdue, but overall, that he is grateful for. 

"We have known for a longtime that communities throughout this state has known that the cost of housing has escalated," said Richardson.