The Real Deal Miami

Sarasota County relaxes affordable housing rule

Developer gets OK to build fewer homes in East Sarasota defined as affordable

September 26, 2015 03:00PM

  • Print
Aerial view of downtown Sarasota (Credit:

Downtown Sarasota (

Sarasota County commissioners reduced to 15 percent from 50 percent the minimum affordable-housing component of a planned residential development in East Sarasota.

By a vote of 3 to 1, the commissioners altered their comprehensive plan and regulations to allow the developer to reduce by as many as 200 the number of affordable homes in the Palmer Place development.

The 412-acre Palmer Place community will have 600 homes, including about 100 set aside as affordable homes. The county defines an affordable home as one that could be purchased by a buyer whose household income is 80 percent of the area’s median household income.

The Florida Housing Coalition recently released a study showing that 43,127 households in Sarasota County spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, or about one out of every ten households.

Palmer Place is a project with a long history.

During the housing bust and recession in the late 2000s, the Palmer Place developer agreed to build as many as 60 percent of the residences as affordable homes in exchange for the county’s permission to build east of the urban service boundary, which dictated where development could and could not happen for decades.

But in recent years, the developer has looked for an out. In 2013, Sarasota County commissioners rejected a proposal by the Palmer Place developer to make a payment instead of complying with the affordable housing mandate. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune] — Mike Seemuth