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Developers, Collier leaders see what latest "Live Local Law" could mean

Focus on affordable housing brings typical concerns for builders, neighbors
Developers and county leaders see what the newest fine-tuning in the "Live Local Law" means for them
Posted at 9:59 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 22:06:19-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are fine-tuning the "Live Local Act" that was signed by Governor Ron Desantis in March of 2023. Now developers and county leaders are looking into what this means for them.

"We're losing dollars flowing out of our county and out of our city," said Stephen Hruby, Chairman of Collier County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. "If you lived here, those dollars would stay within the municipality and within the community."

A problem they are trying to solve as the Collier County Housing Operations found more than 50,000 workers commute every day for work because they cannot easily afford to live near where they work.

"I think 'Live Local' itself has put more pressure and a lot of municipalities are offended by this," said Hruby. "They say it's taken away Home Rule; it's the state exercising control over local decisions on land use, land and development in your communities. It's an economic development issue and I think they decided we need to do something as a wake-up call to communities."

The state is going through the details of the law. Many developers and community members like Steven Kirk, President of Rural Neighborhoods, ask what will happen to the land when the permit expires. Plus, many residents are concerned with making sure the units look like the rest of the neighborhood. Just some questions and concerns that are being answered in this fine-tuning.

"In other communities, we've had discussions that I might characterize as 'not in my backyard' of a neighbor probably just view it that same way," said Kirk. "Even in those instances, though, it's sometimes taken time, better partnerships have emerged."

The law has opened up more opportunities for developers and Kirk says with the proposed changes will make permitting faster.

"If your goal in 2022 was to build something and you're just getting through your zoning in 2023, the economics could have completely charged," said Kirk. "This at least places developers in a situation in which we're trying to make educated guesses and those educated guesses are probably more accurate because they're, we're making them in a more timely manner."