City of Sarasota recognized with state award for attainable housing efforts

City to be featured in Florida League of Cities magazine

This slide presented to the City Commission in April shows average incomes for various types of workers who need affordable housing. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The City of Sarasota has been honored with a Local Action Award, presented by the Florida League of Cities as part of that organization’s 2024 Municipal Achievement Awards, city staff has announced.

The city “was recognized with this prestigious award for its Attainable Housing Density Bonus program,” a news release points out.

The Local Action Award is presented “to a city for a specific, citywide effort that successfully addresses a local need,” the release explains. The city’s Attainable Housing Density Bonus program provides incentives to “private developers to build more attainable housing for a range of income levels,” the release adds. Developers can increase the density of residential projects when they include attainable housing units, the release notes.

Since its adoption in 2023, the program has led to “approximately 90 additional attainable housing units in the construction pipeline” in downtown Sarasota, the release points out.

“Attainable housing is a significant quality-of-life issue in Sarasota, and this statewide achievement award underscores we’re on the right track,” said Mayor Liz Alpert in the release. “Last year, the City Commission directed staff to work on solutions to generate more attainable housing stock, and our professional staff in the Planning Department responded with this carefully researched, well thought-out density bonus program. Already, it’s translating into additional attainable housing units in the pipeline, which our community desperately needs. Congratulations all around!” she concluded her remarks in the release.

The Florida League of Cities (FLC) also recognized a second attainable housing density bonus program, which the City Commission adopted in March, the release says. That provides incentives for the creation of mixed-use development, with requirements for housing for a range of incomes along commercial corridors and within commercial centers, the release adds.

“When we heard that we would be receiving the Local Action Award, we were very excited,” Planning Director Steve Cover said in the release. He noted that “this is first time that the City of Sarasota has received an award from the Florida League of Cities,” adding, “The City’s attainable housing initiatives have received positive feedback from people of all walks of life, and we’re grateful to be recognized by the Florida League of Cities for that.”

The City of Sarasota will be presented with a trophy, and it will be featured in the FLC’s Quality Cities magazine, along with the other 2024 Municipal Achievement Award winners: the City of St. Cloud, the City of Deland, and the Town of Oakland, the release notes.

The Florida League of Cities is “dedicated to promoting local self-government and serving the needs of Florida’s cities,” the release points out. “Founded in 1922, the FLC has acted as a unified voice for Florida’s municipal governments and showcased the impacts of citizens and city leaders on Florida’s communities.”

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