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WFH Marco Island-Style: City approves plan for workers to move in upstairs

Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 16:52:47-05

MARCO ISLAND, FLA — Some workers on Marco Island may soon have the option to live where they work. City leaders have approved an affordable housing plan that would allow business owners to convert vacant offices into living spaces for employees on the island.

The Marco Island City Council gave the green light to the measure on Monday, allowing commercial building owners to convert unused upper-level offices into affordable apartments.

The move aims to assist essential workers and employees struggling with high rents on the island.

However, building owners must meet certain conditions to qualify, including complying with parking, fire, and other safety regulations.

Despite some concerns about how the measure will pan out in the years to come, the council unanimously approved the plan.

"I think it's a fantastic plan, I think it's great," said Denise Jeffreys, the owner of a local flower shop. Jeffrey's living quarters sit above her shop, which she also owns.

"It is awesome… It is great. I mean, I just go downstairs, and I know I'm at work. It's hard because I'm constantly working, but it's a great setup," Jeffreys added, emphasizing the convenience of living and working in the same space.

While her building is already zoned for residential-commercial use, Jeffreys believes extending this system to commercial buildings would be a huge plus.

"For essential workers, there's no housing available. It will also really cut down on traffic too - people coming up over that bridge and going back and forth to work," Jeffreys said.

"It's hard to find employees because you know the commute back and forth and nowhere to live so I think it's a fantastic idea," Jeffreys added.

According to Zillow, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment on Marco Island is $3000.

City planners have said the new plan will not breach density regulations, though they are developing system to keep track.