WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — State lawmakers took a big step Thursday toward what they believe will improve Florida's affordable housing crisis.
WPTV looked at the Live Local Act and what it means for making affordable housing more attainable in Florida.
On Day 2 of the legislative session, state senators unanimously passed the 93-page affordable housing bill.
Below are the key takeaways of Florida Senate Bill 102, which is now headed to the House:
- Removes the authority of local governments to impose any rent control measures
- Allows for multifamily or mixed-use residential housing in any area zoned for residential, commercial or industrial as long as 40% of the residential units are designated for affordable housing
- Ensures that rent for those designated units does not exceed 30% of the median family income
- Encourages developers by offering tax breaks
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"The cost of doing business is so expensive, particularly in Palm Beach County, so some of those barriers for entry will be stripped down," Michele Jacobs, the president of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, said.
Jacobs said while the entire state is facing an affordable housing crisis, the rising costs of living in Palm Beach County are exacerbated more than in any other county.
"We have experienced, since the pandemic, the greatest migration of wealth out of every county," Jacobs said. "So, it continues to widen the gap between those that can afford and those that can't."
Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss said the bill offers more tools to tackle the issue, but the preemptions on local government and the expanded zoning use bring some concerns.
"Industrial is giving me a little bit of pause," Weiss said. "I think we have some very heavy industrial uses, and to co-locate residential areas where something noxious or dangerous, working with hazardous materials, something, you know, would need, at least, a second glance at."
Local leaders said the county is already ahead of the game with the $200 million housing bond that voters approved in November.
Weiss added the future impacts of the bill, if it becomes law, remain to be seen.
"It's always the devil is in the details with these things," Weiss said.