County rejects change limiting affordable housing
By Gina Edwards
In the face of strong business community opposition, a majority of Collier Commissioners approved a zoning restriction today that critics say will effectively kill any future development of affordable housing in the coastal areas west and south of U.S. 41.
But with Commissioners Jim Coletta and Tom Henning siding with business leaders and affordable housing advocates, the restriction is one vote shy of the supermajority needed to overcome a final state hurdle.
Commissioners Fred Coyle, Donna Fiala and Frank Halas also shot down an affordable housing incentive that would give developers bonus units by right, with all three saying the public shouldn’t be kept from weighing in on affordable housing projects.
Proponents said the incentive is needed to remove red tape for developers and give them some guarantees that they won’t get shot down after a lengthy approval process because of not-in-my-backyard neighborhood opposition.
Commissioners are debating the series of growth management proposals that advocates said could jeopardize the future development of affordable and lower-cost housing in the county.
It is nice to see some of our neighboring government officials listening to their constituents. While the issues are complex, commissioners are elected to listen to all the citizens then weigh the evidence presented.
If they don't even listen, the citizens become angry and alienated. Alienating citizens just brings more grief. After all, citizens choose government representatives to represent the will of the people.
Recall the statement by our Mayor at the May 1 City Commission meeting when 10 neighborhood leaders signed speaker slips to speak to the commissioners. While waving the 10 slips in the air he said in no uncertain terms: "I have 10 slips here. The answer is NO, but you can come up and speak anyway". Nice way to be treated by your elected officials.