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Florida's Live Local Act: What Tampa Bay's Real Estate Community Needs to Know

Florida's Live Local Act: What Tampa Bay's Real Estate Community Needs to Know

Florida's Live Local Act, a significant policy aimed at boosting affordable housing, is facing potential changes that could have a major impact on Tampa Bay's development landscape. Here's what you need to know about these proposed amendments and how they might affect our community.

Understanding the Live Local Act

Introduced by Gov. Ron DeSantis and enacted on July 1, 2023, the Live Local Act was a game-changer for affordable housing in Florida. With a substantial budget of $711 million, it aimed to ease local zoning and density restrictions, making it easier to develop affordable housing projects. Cities like St. Petersburg quickly adapted, creating opportunities for developers under this new framework.

The Proposed Changes: A Closer Look

Recently, Sen. Alexis Calatayud and Rep. Vicki Lopez introduced bills suggesting several amendments to the Act. These changes primarily focus on the density and location of affordable housing projects. For instance, there's a proposal to limit building heights to those of the tallest existing building within a quarter mile of the project, a significant shift from the current one-mile range.

Impact on Developers and Projects

Jake Cremer, a partner at Stearns Weaver Miller in Tampa, highlights the uncertainty these changes bring. Developers, having invested significantly under the current law, now face potential alterations that could derail their projects. The proposed amendments, while aiming to refine the Act, might inadvertently slow down the development of much-needed affordable housing.

Density and Height: Key Concerns

One of the critical areas of amendment is the regulation of density and building height. The new proposals suggest more restrictive measures, which could limit the number of new homes built. This is particularly concerning for projects already in the planning stages, as these changes might render them unviable.

Industrial Land: A Significant Shift

Another notable proposal is to exclude industrial properties from the benefits offered by the Live Local Act. This change, aimed at preserving industrial land for job creation, could lead to a decrease in the number of new housing projects, particularly in areas where industrial land was a viable option for residential development.

Local Government and Community Response

The amendments seem to be a response to feedback from local governments, many of which have been hesitant to fully embrace the original Act's bold approach. While some adjustments are expected in new legislation, the extent of these proposed changes has raised concerns among developers and community leaders.

What Does This Mean for Tampa Bay?

For our community in Tampa Bay, these changes could mean a slowdown in the development of affordable housing. The uncertainty and potential restrictions might discourage developers from pursuing new projects, impacting our goal of increasing housing availability.

Looking Ahead

As these proposed amendments are debated and refined, it's crucial for our community to stay informed and engaged. The development of affordable housing is a complex issue, and it's essential that any changes to the Live Local Act support our collective goal of serving the community with integrity and transparency.

Stay tuned for more updates as we navigate these changes together.

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