Monday, April 10, 2006

More From the Affordable Housing Discussion

Some comments from the recent gathering of CCNA, DTP, SOS, Landlord/Tenant Coalition and YPG:

Haven’t we got this backwards? We are proposing a solution and we have not yet defined basic parameters and basic needs. While we all know affordable housing is the major concern for our community but our needs still need clarification. For example:
  • What is our current affordable housing stock? How many units exist and where are they?
  • How much do we need (City and County)? Do we know how much affordable housing we need, such as rental units as well as ownership units?
  • Where should it be located? Where in the city makes the most sense? Should affordable units be clustered? How far from downtown is OK? How close to public transportation should we target?
  • When we have defined these we will be in a much better position to determine solutions.

The YPG is interested in getting affordable housing built in the downtown area a soon as possible. They see the current proposal as a way to achieve that objective.

The DTP indicated that they still liked their previous proposal (A-ROD) better but decided that the ERA proposal had a better chance of passing, thus they support the current proposal

Alta Vista recently had a traffic survey on Wood St - in a 2 day time period, 10,000 cars traveled Wood St. Is this the area to put 200 units per acre (the 9 acre site on the east side of Payne Park)?

The Community Housing Trust is ready to build 42 single family homes on Wood St ranging from low $100's to $175,000. This is happening now, an excellent example of what we can do.

Park East indicates that the area near Fruitville and Lime is good for increased density - the Vengroff area. Why not push on this to see if a reasonable project can happen there?

Five years ago, residents participated in the downtown master plan process. Part of this was the urban transect plan. Another part was the Burns Court area being Downtown Edge. What happened? Downtown Core has suddenly spread everywhere. We have lost faith in our commissioners and their ability to make an agreed upon plan happen. We are now talking about more areas of Downtown Core abutting single family residential where it is not wanted.

What are the environmental implications of this proposal? What are the traffic implications?

The neighborhoods along the North Trail have indicated many times during the recent "Innovation41 Process" (a.k.a. University District) that affordable housing and transportation needs to be part of this (the Innovation 41 plan) plan. So far this has been ignored - where is the trust.

"Density is an essential part of affordable housing" vs "Increased density has not yielded any affordable housing in Sarasota so far" vs "developers always want increased density, it makes the land more valuable".

Alta Vista was never part of the Downtown Master Plan discussions. Now they are facing amendments that will result in their neighborhood abutting the most intensive segment of downtown - Downtown Core. When and where does downtown stop? How much further east will it march?

CCNA has been discussing a town hall meeting for residents to have input into possible solutions for the affordable housing issue.

The lack of affordable rental options was also discussed. Potential solutions include preserving current rentals through the use of creative ways to reduce the rising taxes and insurence rates that landlords face. Create "bonuses" for landlords that keep affordable rentals.

1 comment:

Susan Chapman said...

It has become fashionable in Sarasota to talk about asset based community development. Yet, when the citizens stand up and tell the City and the development community that their vision of Sarasota is not the citizen's vision, we, long time citizens, are criticized as being negative. Let's start a real discussion of what we, citizens, want the City of Sarasota to be, and how we can use our assets to house our work force and those who are less fortunate. Once we have discussed what we want, let us mobilize to produce that result. I don't hear citizens crying out for more density in the downtown core or the downtown edge. I don't even hear affordable housing advocates demanding densities of 200 hundred units per acre or, for that matter, densities of 50 units per acre. We need to decide how much density do we need to create affordable housing. Are developer incentives the answer? Are there more direct methods of achieving work force housing than the comprehensive plan amendments? How can we bring neighborhoods and affordable housing advocates together to produce real affordable housing units, as opposed to 90 percent density for 10 percent "attainable" housing for those with incomes of $55,000 to $67,000 per year?