‘Don’t sue me, talk to me’ — Pasco lawsuit over Live Local Act irks Kathleen Passidomo
Kathleen Passidomo. Image via Colin Hackley.

'I'm like why didn’t you call me? I have a cell phone.'

A potential lawsuit from Pasco County over a new law that alters zoning requirements has rankled Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican and the main architect of the law.

“I spoke to their consultant, actually yesterday, because I had gotten a letter from them. And I’m like, why didn’t you call me? I have a cell phone,” Passidomo told reporters. “Don’t sue me, talk to me. And then sue me if you don’t like it.”

The Pasco County Commission voted unanimously to file a lawsuit looking to strike down the provision of Passidomo’s Live Local Act that requires local governments to open up commercial and industrial areas to residential construction.

That provision is one piece of the large measure that Passidomo sought to boost incentives and opportunities for developers to build affordable housing throughout the state, citing numerous reports showing skyrocketing housing costs, putting pressure on middle and low-income households.

The law was a top priority for Passidomo and passed with overwhelming support, with only six “no” votes in the House. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it in March.

At issue is the part of the law allowing developers to build on land zoned for commercial or industrial use if 40% of their project is dedicated to affordable housing.

Pasco leaders fear it will put an area they’ve eyed for commercial use in jeopardy, putting at risk new economic development and jobs.

Passidomo said she understands the concerns but wants to avoid a court battle.

“I understand where they’re coming from,” Passidomo said. “They’ve designated a certain area as commercial and they’re afraid they’re going to lose it to residential. Let’s talk about it. How can we work together? Why don’t you do mixed use? Maybe it would be nice to have commercial and residential.”

She added that there could be tweaks made to the Live Local Act during the upcoming Legislative Session, which begins Jan. 9.

Gray Rohrer


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