Broward moves to expand affordable housing supply by amending land-use plan

Broward County gave initial approval to a land-use change that would encourage affordable housing construction on commercial sites near major roads.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to initiate the land-use change requiring that developments include a residential component with affordable units if located in high-traffic areas with “commerce” or “activity center” land-use designations.

The change allows developers to build as many as 19 market-rate residential units for each affordable one in such developments. The affordable units would be reserved for tenants with “very low” income (up to 50 percent of median household income in Broward County).

Eligible developers also could build six market-rate residential units for each unit reserved for tenants with “moderate” income (up to 120 percent of median household income), and nine market-rate units for each unit reserved for tenants with “low” income (up to 80 percent of median household income). Developers’ designation of these rent-controlled units as affordable housing would have a 30-year life.

The land-use change, which would apply primarily to areas west of U.S. 1, is pending further approvals by the Broward County Planning Council and the state government, which could take nine months.

Broward County’s land-use plan currently allows relatively small “density bonuses” for affordable housing development – two or four market-rate units, respectively, for every unit allocated to tenants with “moderate” or “very low” income. The designation of rent-controlled units as affordable housing expires after 15 years.

Residential developers rarely apply for these density bonuses because the payoff is too small, which limits the supply of affordable housing, Ralph Stone, executive director of the Broward County Housing Authority, told county commissioners at their workshop meeting on Oct. 22.

Click here to read the original article.