Senate panel advances measure updating Live Local Act
New poll shows Floridians want government to address affordable housing crisis.

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The landmark legislation aims to provide affordable housing to Floridians seeking to navigate a surging market.

An update to last year’s historic Live Local Act is moving forward in the Senate.

The measure from Sen. Alexis Calatayud (SB 328) advanced through the Senate Community Affairs Committee on a unanimous vote. The legislation aimed to touch up the Live Local Act passed by lawmakers last year with Senate President Kathleen Passidomo pushing the project.

The Live Local Act aimed to offer affordable housing for Floridians dealing with crippling price increases following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers have grown concerned that price surges could price out many working-class Floridians from living in the state.

“As we know (with) the passage of large and complex legislation, lessons learned during implementation highlight the need for minor adjustments,” Calatayud said. “That’s what this bill does.”

Calatayud explained Tuesday that the strike-all amendment does the following:

— Repeals the ability for Live Local projects to be located in industrial areas.

— Makes adjustments to provisions regulating building heights and floor area

— Specifies that Live Local projects within 1/4 mile of a military installation may not be administratively approved.

— Requires that Live Local projects within transit-oriented developments are to be mixed-use residential as opposed to completely residential.

— Provides that Live Local developments will continue to be recognized as an allowable use after the development’s affordability period and expiration of the statute, with an exception for developments that violate the affordability requirements.

— Clarifies that non-restricted units in a development may be offered for sale or lease, but affordable units must be rental units.

— Requires counties and cities to post on their websites their procedures for administrative approval of Live Local projects.

— Clarifies that units that have been substantially rehabilitated may qualify for a “missing middle” property tax exemption.

— Requires fewer units in development that are located in the Florida Keys to be set aside for income-limited households, dropping that number from 70 units to 10.

— Clarifies that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) duties in certifying eligibility for the missing middle exemption are ministerial, while Property Appraisers maintain the ultimate authority to grant exemptions.

— Expands the FHFC’s ability to preclude developers from participating in its program for certain violations.

— Appropriates $100 million to the FHFC for the Hometown Heroes Program.

Sen. Rosalind Osgood also offered an amendment to strengthen parking provision for Live Local projects. The provision would require local governments to weigh parking requirements for developments near transportation stops or hubs.

Senators accepted Osgood’s amendment before approving the legislation overall.

The bill will next go in front of the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee before advancing to the Senate floor. Republican Rep. Vicki Lopez is fronting the House version of the bill (HB 1239).

Staff Reports

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