February 28, 2019 | St. Petersburg, FL – On Thursday, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce released a proposal to increase the supply of housing that is affordable in the city. Developed by the Chamber’s Housing, Land Use, and Development (HLUD) Committee in consultation with the Grow Smarter Housing Work Group and other area leaders on low-income and workforce housing, the plan outlines three distinct initiatives to ensure a climate for continued growth of all types of housing options:
- Community Wide Commitment to Dedicated Funding- Establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that would be protected from being used for General Revenue purposes and use a percentage of incremental tax revenues in lieu of Linkage or other impact fees to reduce the costs for developers to build affordable units.
- Improve Access to City Owned Land for Non-Profit Developers- Amend procedures and rules for the distribution of city owned land to non-profit developers.
- Update Zoning and Development Regulations- Amend Zoning Ordinances to permit smaller, infill, multi-family residential developments with reduced parking requirements throughout city, but proximate to transit corridors and areas of higher elevation while continuing to grow our downtown skyline with apartments, condos and Class A office space.
“This plan is the culmination of months of work by our HLUD Committee, Chamber staff, and countless members and community leaders”, explained Chamber Chairman Bill Kent. “St. Pete needs more than 20,000 units for low- and middle-income residents and we believe the best way to increase supply is for the city to make it easier for builders to construct smaller, and therefore more affordable, units”, continued Steinocher. “Housing equity will not be achieved by taking small steps towards solving this problem.”
Mike Sutton, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Pinellas supports the Chamber’s proposal, saying “Providing City owned lots to Non-Profit organizations, like Habitat, with the goal of improving communities and expanding the affordable housing stock is a great idea. The City should be commended for taking such action. However, the process for securing lots in the city for non-profits needs to be improved. We look forward to working with the administration, City Council, and the Chamber to ensure every resident of St. Pete has access to housing they can afford.”
Former City Councilmember Karl Nurse added, “Our community needs to significantly expand the delivery of affordable housing. The Chamber has identified several of the most critical steps we need to take if we are going to produce housing for moderate- and middle-income neighbors. The time to act is now.”
The proposal was delivered to Mayor Rick Kriseman and City Council on Wednesday and the Chamber will be working with other stakeholders and the City to craft ordinances in support of these initiatives.
About the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®, originally founded in 1899, now serves over 1,300 member businesses and organizations. Continually identifying ways to create and enhance opportunities to do business in St. Petersburg, the Chamber works to improve the local economic climate and to build a thriving business environment. The Chamber represents perspectives of local business in St. Petersburg, providing and fostering leadership on important business and community issues. Information is available at stpete.com.