• Chamber's Workforce Housing Task Force Works on Affordability for Essential Workers

    Chamber's Workforce  Housing Task Force Works on Affordability for Essential Workers

    There is no question that St. Johns County is experiencing an affordable housing crisis across the entire income spectrum. The Chamber’s Affordable/Workforce Housing Task Force recognizes this disparity between housing needs and affordability at all income levels. What we are endeavoring to address is the limited income affordability band (from $45,000 to $65,000 income level) that directly affects housing for our first responders/law enforcement, medical professionals, manufacturing technology employees, and educators. These professions represent the backbone of our society and without the availability of affordable housing options for the employees in these sectors, the St. Johns County economy will simply not be able to continue to grow and thrive in the coming years. Ultimately, the Chamber’s goal is to increase the number of affordable workforce housing units built in St. Johns County. This is a major driver for the continued growth and prosperity of our County’s economic growth and an opportunity not to be missed.

    The following are potential solutions from the Task Force* on ways in which the SJC Board of County Commissioners could address the most urgent workforce housing needs in the short/mid-term. Each will be addressed in upcoming meetings planned with individual County Commissioners.
    •  Expand affordable rental units: Many families who need affordable homes either do not want to or are currently unable to purchase a single-family home in St. Johns County.
    • Expand Options to include a new category for Duplex homes:  Most affordable homes under development are townhomes, typically in 8-unit buildings. Adding a Duplex category would allow families to have homes with windows on three sides and would provide a private, connected front, side, and rear yard with only one adjoining neighbor.
    • Require multifamily projects with 100 units or more to make 5% to 10% of units classified as affordable.
    • Explore the creation of Community Land Trusts For example, Duval County has an existing CLT.
    • Allow encroachments into side yards in compliance with the National Fire Code  The development codes in Clay, Flagler, Duval, and Nassau counties currently allow these encroachments.
    • Add density in certain land use categories  There would be no change to Res-B, but increased density in the more intense land use categories will reduce costs.
    • Adapt regulatory/code requirements, processes, and deadlines -  Extend the start time for development from 2 to 3 years after approval for Affordable Housing Development Projects.  Many regulatory requirements for new developments such as environmental permitting are taking 18 or more months on many projects.
    • St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce
    • Northrop Grumman
    • Flagler Health+
    • St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office
    • St. Johns County Fire Rescue
    • VyStar Credit Union
    • Corner Lot Development
    • NE Florida Builders Association
    • St. Johns County Schools
    • MasterCraft Builder Group
    • St. Augustine Real Estate Company
    • DLP Capital
    • Operation Lifeline, Inc.

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