There is interest in bringing affordable housing to Manatee County but without the right incentives, developers will pass over what is considered a difficult-to-develop area, according to the county’s housing and community development coordinator.
“We have an interest. We have a strong interest,” Denise Thomas told the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on Monday. “There is a lot of interest in Manatee County. We just have to be packaged just right or have the right incentives to bring them.”
Developers have contacted the county to do affordable housing, Thomas said.
“We got to break some barriers to be able to bring in some housing within certain corridors,” she said. “We are all about creating partnerships to be able to bring the end result of affordable housing.”
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During Monday’s meeting, the advisory board, which is tasked with reviewing Manatee County codes for any barriers to develop affordable housing, reviewed the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. At the next meeting, committee members will address the density and height restrictions that exist in the code, which could be possible impediments to developing affordable housing.
“There should be a greater benefit to go affordable than to just go mainstream,” Thomas said. “We need to have incentives that can be accomplished, offered and made available but have the end result of affordable housing.”
Height restrictions are a big thing in Manatee County, said Mike Rahn, a committee member who is also on the planning commission.
“I think all the incentives in here are good incentives, strong incentives,” he said. “When you are getting with the school board, that’s a whole different monster.”
What’s the school board’s policy on encouraging affordable housing, Richard Bedford, committee member, asked.
“I don’t think they bring anything to the table right now,” he said.
Committee member Andy Reasoner said “what we have to do is distinguish ourselves of being more serious players.”