Friday, September 08, 2006

Downtown Density Bonus Proposal Turned Down

The proposed Attainable Housing Density Bonus was turned down last night at City Hall. Too little "bang for the buck" and too many traffic issues were the determining factors.

Kate Lowman (Laurel Park) summarized the decision:

I am happy to report that last night the City Commission decided not to pursue the 4X density bonus because "it doesn't provide enough bang for the buck." Lou Anne Palmer and Fredd Atkins were already on record as opposing the density increase/10% affordable housing plan. Mary Anne Servian joined them last night, stating that she was very disappointed that the density bonus would yield so little in the way of affordable housing. It appeared that Commissioners Shelin and Bilyeu would have supported the density bonus, but no formal vote was taken at this point--the consensus established by the three votes against the program was sufficient.

Neighborhoods had a strong turnout. Strangely, the developers who had heavily promoted the program earlier in the year were almost completely absent. Neighborhood reps and Commissioners alike agreed that the city should pursue a comprehensive approach to affordable housing.

Thanks to those of you who came, and get ready for next Thursday's School Avenue hearing, which is even more important for neighborhoods. More on that later.

It was apparent that the community was opposed to this particular proposal at this time.

We hope the community works together to find ways to achieve affordable housing objectives. We also hope the commission continues to listen to the citizens of Sarasota.

It is important to note that on Saturday, September 16, the city and the CHT are sponsoring an "Affordable Housing Forum". This discussion forum will be looking for community imput. We urge everyone to attend and participate.

The Forum will be at City Hall and goes from 8:30 AM to 1 PM.

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