County creates new 'affordable development' zoning designation

The new 'planned affordable development' zoning designation would allow for 'tiny homes' and other such uses.

County Commissioner Andy Dance called the ordinance "a first step" to attracting more affordable housing. Photo by Jonathan Simmons
County Commissioner Andy Dance called the ordinance "a first step" to attracting more affordable housing. Photo by Jonathan Simmons
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Many people who work in Flagler County — including early-career first responders, teachers and other professionals — are priced out of living here. 

But the Flagler County Commission is trying to change that, voting 5-0 on June 21 to pass an ordinance creating a new zoning designation that would let developers build "tiny homes," "micro-apartments," pocket neighborhoods, "agrihoods," mobile home parks and townhomes.

The zoning designation, called a called a "planned affordable development," or PAD, would grant developers leeway from the typical regulations governing home size, lot size and other factors if they meet a set of parameters — including sale and rent caps — designed to make the homes affordable. 

On the advice of county planning board members, the county added a provision that would let developers seek to have those caps waived in exceptional circumstances. 

County planning staff will review developers' applications on a case-by-case basis.

County Commissioner Andy Dance referred to the ordinance as a "first step" to making housing in Flagler County more affordable.

The Flagler County Commission had approved the first iteration of the ordinance on June 7, then brought it to the county planning board and Affordable Housing Advisory Committee for suggestions and tweaked it before the second County Commission vote on June 21.

The county will review the ordinance after one year, and then again at the five-year mark.

"We've, I think, thoroughly vetted this with our Affordable Housing Task Force, with the planning board and staff, and the public," County Commission Chairman Donald O'Brien said. "I applaud everyone for the effort. It's not been taken lightly, and I think we've gotten good feedback and made some good changes."

Jan Reeger, a former Bunnell city commissioner, supported the ordinance. She said that one of her children and one of her grandchildren have left Florida for other states where housing is more affordable. 

"I made a prediction in 2008 that my grandchildren would have problems when they tried to find a home, and I was right," she said. 

She said she's been advocating for more affordable hosing for 13 years. 

Resident Daisy Henry said she also supported the ordinance. 

"It’s got some little kinks, but it’s a start," Henry said.


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