Lake County Developments

Affordable housing advocates oppose Lake County moratorium

The CEO of Lake-Sumter Habitat for Humanity says the proposed moratorium will create a strain and backlog for providers of affordable housing.

Lake County Commissioners will proceed later this month with the first of two public hearings on a controversial ordinance to establish a six-month moratorium on new subdivision plans despite concerns over how it could impact the delivery of affordable housing.

The county’s staff requested a moratorium so it could pause reviews for new preliminary subdivision plats while they update the land development code with enhanced residential architectural guidelines and subdivision standards. But Lake County’s Planning & Zoning Board voted to recommend denial of the moratorium ordinance at its March 3 meeting after homebuilders spoke out against it.


And three members of the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee filed impact statements opposing the moratorium.

Danielle Stroud, CEO of Lake-Sumter Habitat for Humanity, said the requested 6-month delay would put a strain on everything from funding and land contracts to housing supply.


“From the affordable housing perspective alone, not approving future potential projects under existing code while revamping the new codes would do exactly what it says, which is potentially kiboshing some projects, or if nothing less, postponing them for the length of the moratorium,” she told GrowthSpotter. “It’s time and money.”

Mariela Garcia, director of construction for Homes in Partnership, said in her impact statement that the moratorium could stall the construction of 45 new homes for Lake County families in need.

“The agency I build affordable housing for is currently working on the Platting of 3 Subdivisions in Lake County,” she wrote. “These three subdivisions will in total provide Affordable Housing for approximately 45 new families that otherwise would not be able to buy a home this year. The agency is issued a grant through USDA Rural Development to oversee these projects. If Affordable Housing Agencies cannot submit for Plat approval for 6 months this will further delay the site development of all three of these projects, therefore pushing 45 families to not be able to purchase a new home.”

Advisory committee member Danielle Roberts said she understands the importance of updating the development codes. “However a six-month and potentially longer delay could really impact our already scarce inventory in Lake County for affordable housing,” she wrote. “If a builder is delayed on moving forward to submit plans to build, our already long list of citizens in need will continue to grow and there will not be enough communities to help accommodate.”

Committee member Mike “Turk” Taylor noted that the moratorium would result in a loss of revenue to the county from application fees, but he also saw the potential for a positive outcome. He said the pause would allow “stakeholders time to more thoroughly assess affordable housing needs and, more importantly, time to design effective and meaningful new residential development standards that is appropriately inclusionary of affordable housing objectives.”

The language of the ordinance creates exceptions for rural conservation subdivisions and ones that are part of Planned Unit Developments with approved design guidelines. It also gives builders the ability to seek a waiver because of financial hardship or to submit a separate set of architectural standards with the preliminary plat. Stroud suggested the commissioners also carve out an exception specifically for affordable housing communities.

“I think an allowance or exception for affordable housing projects to come through is definitely something that would ease the pain of the moratorium,” she said.

The public hearings are scheduled for March 28 and April 11, but it would be effective dating to March 1.


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