Miami-Dade may scrap plans for workforce housing mandate
By Dan Dolan
A proposed law that would've forced Miami-Dade developers to build middle-income housing while stripping power from community councils was defanged by the county commission's Infrastructure and Land Use Committee this week.
At the request of sponsor Commissioner Barbara Jordan, the committee changed the proposal to make developer participation voluntary and to eliminate creation of a new appointed zoning appeals board that would only handle middle-income housing projects.
Ms. Jordan said she modified her legislation after elected community councils complained the special zoning board might usurp their powers to determine the best use for land.
She said developers' objections played no role in her decision to scrap a requirement that at least 5% of all new housing projects in unincorporated Miami-Dade be sold below market rate so families making $65,000 or less could afford homes.
The revised plan keeps special density bonuses for builders who agree to sell 12.5% of homes in a development below market price. That bonus allows builders to put more units on a site than zoning rules would normally permit.
In its original form, Ms. Jordan's law would have let special zoning boards decide affordable housing density issues. Now, community councils will have the final say, subject to appeal to the entire county commission.
"Miami Dade has an affordable housing crisis and we have to find a solution," Ms. Jordan said. "We have been studying this issue since 2001. "
Rather than engage in more debate, she said she decided to reshape her plan as a one-year test. The committee adopted the revised proposal — without recommendation — and sent it to the entire county commission, where it is to be considered next week.