Finding affordable housing is a struggle for many working families in Collier County. Now, there's a new effort to get more affordable homes into the area. Tuesday, county commissioners approved re-zoning a shopping center at Pine Ridge and Goodlette-Frank Roads to allow for mixed-use residential apartments.
"We're able to re-purpose under-utilized commercial space, adding residential and increase housing diversity in the area," said Mike Bosi, Collier County's Planning Director.
The shopping plaza currently is the former location of a Sweetbay supermarket, which closed several years ago.
Bosi said the housing could cut down on traffic, since Pine Ridge and Goodlette-Frank Roads are close to big employers such as Arthrex and the Collier County Public School District.
Commissioner Penny Taylor would like to see a more comprehensive plan take multiple sites into account.
"I look forward to another discussion on another day, when we talk about exactly what we want and where we want it, before it comes to us project by project," Taylor said.
Bosi said several developers have already shown interest in mixed-used affordable housing projects in Collier, including at another site near Interstate 75 and Collier Boulevard.
"We think this is only the beginning of a trend that's going to be able to positively affect that housing diversity," he said.