Developer Delton Haynes wants to bring more affordable housing to Manatee County, but if the county doesn’t change its processes, he will look elsewhere.
“You have got to put action behind these words,” Haynes told commissioners Tuesday. “I’m looking at 12 acres to do another project, but if you don’t change it, you aren’t getting any affordable housing out of me.”
As the developer of the 148-unit Oakwood Apartment Homes on 15th Street East, Haynes said he was met with many difficulties from the county in developing those affordable units.
“We can give you affordable housing without the headache that you delivered to us,” he said.
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Manatee County staff presented the commission with 10 recommendations to address the housing situation in the county during Tuesday’s work session, which was the final one in the “All Things Housing” series.
“We need to have the tools to help the community expand affordable housing,” said Cheri Coryea, the county’s neighborhood services director. “We can talk about affordable housing for every day for the next 10 to 15 years, but if staff doesn’t have the tools to get things done we aren’t going to make any progress.”
A top priority will be the commission’s approval of changes to the county’s Land Development Code this fall intended to encourage redevelopment along six urban corridors, Coryea said. Other priorities include initiating rezones of county owned surplus parcels for attainable housing and completing an annual study on the current “state of housing” in the county.
“We are confident that if we can move forward with code changes and start with the rezon,e we can make a quick step into affordable housing arena,” Coryea said.
The surplus property list is a place for the county to get started, Commissioner Larry Bustle said.
“It can be an ideal partnership of the county and Habitat (for Humanity),” he said. “We can bring a lot to the table. We can bring the lot. We can bring the zoning and perhaps a couple other things.”
Commissioner John Chappie called the recommendations presented “doable.”
“It is a great opportunity and the timing is now,” he said. “I think we can have a lot we can get done before November.”
There are people willing to work on the affordable housing, Commissioner Betsy Benac said.
“We have to work with people that have that economic model,” she said. “We have to make sure that we aren’t standing in their way. ... This is a hand up not a hand out.”
Priorities to increase affordable housing in Manatee County
- Identify role for the Board of County Commissioners in regards to affordable housing.
- Redefine the terminology used to identify affordable/workforce housing to “attainable” housing.
- Incorporate additional changes to the Land Development Code to accommodate community requests for diverse housing options and ensure the future economic vitality of Manatee County.
- Initiate rezones of county owned surplus parcels to facilitate diversity in affordable (attainable) housing throughout Manatee County.
- Advertise an Invitation to Negotiate with county owned parcels for various types and uses of affordable housing projects.
- Establish the Lifetime Economic Action Program.
- Contract for an annual study on the current “state of housing” in Manatee County.
- Modify incentives for the Affordable “Attainable” Housing Program.
- Obtain commitments from community funding partners to align and leverage with attainable housing.
- Expand staff knowledge about Affordable “Attainable” Housing opportunities in all housing arenas.