City Commission approves list of 12 parcels it owns that would be appropriate for affordable housing projects

Inventory a requirement of state’s new Live Local Act

This graphic shows the locations of the parcels on the list, marked by red squares. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

With no dissent in regard to the proposed parcels, the Sarasota City Commission this week unanimously approved a resolution establishing an inventory of all real property in the city’s jurisdiction that would be appropriate for use as affordable housing sites.

The list included 12 parcels within the city limits.

Ryan Chapdelain, general manager of the city’s Planning Department, explained that Section 166.0451 of the Florida Statutes calls for municipalities to maintain such inventories. The first list had be available by Oct. 1, he noted during the commission’s regular meeting on Sept. 18. Thereafter, state law requires each list to be updated every three years, he said.

The mandate is part of the Live Local Act that the Florida Legislature passed this year.

The Agenda Request Form for the City Commission item explained that, as written in state law, “[T]he properties identified … may be used for affordable housing through a long-term land lease requiring the development and maintenance of affordable housing, offered for sale  [with the proceeds to be used to purchase land for the construction of more affordable housing units] or to increase the local government funds earmarked for affordable housing, sold with a restriction that requires the development of the property as permanent affordable housing, or donated to a nonprofit housing organization for the construction of permanent affordable housing.”

Alternatively, the law says, the municipality or special district may make the property “available for use for the production and preservation of permanent affordable housing.”

This is the list that the City Commission approved on Sept. 18. ‘DU’ stands for dwelling unit. The ‘RMF’ designation refers to multi-family residential zoning regulations. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The Agenda Request Form did add that one city-owned parcel, located at 1710 23rd St., is not on the list because of “constructability challenges of the site with respect to elevation, presence of grand oaks and an abutting drainage conveyance …”

The Suncoast Urban Reforesters group (SURF) has evaluated the site “as a prime candidate for a microforest,” the form adds. Microforests, the form explains, “are small, dense patches of native forest plants that help to increase biodiversity and carbon storage in urbanized areas.”

Commissioner Erik Arroyo made the motion to adopt the proposed resolution regarding the parcels, and Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch seconded it.