The City of Palm Bay Seeks to Increase Affordable Housing Options
Palm Bay News: 8/25/2020
The City of Palm Bay has implemented a series of changes to the City’s Code of Ordinances in order to enhance the quality of life and facilitate economic opportunities for residents and businesses. The new amendments, developed and administered by the City’s Growth Management Department, have been adopted by City Council and subsequently incorporated into the City of Palm Bay’s Code of Ordinances. Many of the changes are intended to increase affordable housing development within the city of Palm Bay.
Photo Credit: Carriage Houses NW
In February 2020, the Palm Bay City Council adopted an ordinance allowing for the construction of tiny homes and accessory dwelling units in certain areas of Palm Bay. Tiny homes are small dwelling units, up to 800 square feet in size, with a reduced construction cost that makes owning or renting the unit more affordable. The newly adopted regulations will allow tiny homes to be built in areas zoned for multi-family use or in planned developments. Similarly, the City’s Land Development Code now allows single-family property owners to construct a second dwelling unit on their property up to 750 square feet. Accessory dwelling units are allowed as an accessory use in most single-family districts and create additional housing opportunities and choices.
The City has also amended the Code of Ordinances relating to multi-family dwellings. Multi-family dwellings contain multiple, separate residential dwelling units and may include apartments, townhomes, or duplexes. The City’s new ordinance changes have eliminated the minimum unit size requirements for multi-family dwelling units and reduced some of the regulations for small-scale multi-family developments (five units or less). The amendments provide greater flexibility for development, allow for lowered construction costs and foster affordability in the City’s housing market.
Increasing the availability of affordable housing improves the economic health of a community. To attract stable, long term commercial development, the City of Palm Bay must provide a mix of housing opportunities to accommodate a varied workforce. An adequate inventory of affordable housing is also key to retaining existing low- to moderate-income level jobs as property values rise and the commercial tax base increases over time. The City of Palm Bay is continuing to review ordinances to further enhance opportunities for affordable housing and will continue to work with community partners, residents, and developers to improve the availability of affordable housing to create a balanced, sustainable plan for municipal growth.
Tiny Homes Could be Affordable Housing Solution, Palm Bay Mayor Says
Palm Bay’s new ordinance changes have eliminated the minimum unit size for multi-family dwellings, and most recently submitted a request to allow tiny homes on wheels.
“Some people don’t want a mansion. Some people just want a place where they could go to sleep, and some people want to enjoy traveling,” Mayor Capote said.
Vargas, who’s in his 30s, agrees. He wants to use the money he saves from downsizing and renting out his larger home to travel.
“A trip we are planning is a road trip from Palm Bay to Lake Tahoe. It’s harder to do things like that when you have a $200,000 mortgage,” Vargas said.
City council will vote on the proposed text amendment for the tiny homes on wheels or (THOW) at its next meeting.