Coral Springs puts affordable housing rules on hold

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The supply of housing that people can actually afford is no longer an issue in Coral Springs, officials said, so they are set to impose a one-year ban on their own rules intended to increase the affordable stock.

Coral Springs had required developers of five or more residential units to also provide "inclusionary units" of affordable housing. If 10 percent of the development didn't meet affordable housing criteria, developers would have to pay into a city fund.

But it was a moot point: City officials said no developers have provided units or paid into the fund since the rules were established in 2006 because the economy precluded any type of new re-development, and there is no new land to build on. Officials said they wondered if the rules also scared developers away.

"We don't want them to be afraid of doing business in Coral Springs," said Commissioner Larry Vignola. "In 2006, housing was getting out of control. Now prices are back down to earth."

The City Commission gave tentative approval to the moratorium on the affordable housing regulations on Tuesday night. The final vote is expected Jan. 17.

Davie officials lifted a ban for a two-year period last summer. Davie's ordinance, approved in May 2008, required residential developers to set aside 20 percent of their homes or condos as affordable housing for 15 years, or pay into a housing trust fund at the rate of $6 for every square foot they build.

Town officials complained it was stifling development.

In Coral Springs, the ordinance dates to 2006. During the height of the housing boom, homes in the county had a median sales price of $380,000 and condos were selling for $208,000, said City Manager Erdal Donmez. As of September 2011, the median sales prices are $188,000 and less than $72,000 respectively.

"Affordable housing is not the same challenge it was," Donmez said.

"There was no opportunity for affordable housing," said Commissioner Vince Boccard. But "with plummeting prices, there's no reason we have to have this in place. Every house in Coral Springs is affordable. In today's market, these homes are a gift."


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