The Weekly Dirt: Changes to Florida’s affordable housing law clear hurdle


The Florida Senate passed amendments to the Live Local Act, which are expected to be approved by the House next. Let’s break them down. 

Live Local, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, created major zoning incentives for developers that set aside housing for people making up to 120 percent of the area median income, and allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing. 

Senate Bill 328 and the matching House Bill 1239 clarify the state’s preemption of local zoning laws, maximum building heights and tax exemptions. If and when the bills become law, attorneys expect that more developers will file applications for affordable, workforce and mixed-income housing projects. 

The legislation creates height protections for single-family neighborhoods, and eliminates parking requirements for some transit-oriented projects filed under Live Local, according to attorney Anthony De Yurre’s analysis. 

De Yurre, a partner at Bilzin Sumberg, tells me that the parking requirements are “the biggest challenge to workforce housing.” Requirements would be reduced by 20 percent if a Live Local project is within half a mile of a major transportation hub and parking exists within 600 feet. If the project is within a transit-oriented development area, the requirements would be eliminated. 

The latest versions of the bills clarify that properties zoned for industrial projects qualify for Live Local incentives. When proposed in January, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Alexis Calatayud and Rep. Vicki Lopez, sought to exclude industrial sites. The original amendments also sought to cap heights of Live Local projects up to the height of existing buildings within a quarter mile, but that was nixed. The distance used can be up to 1 mile, with the exception of sites abutting single-family zoning.

The bills require local municipalities to maintain guidelines for administrative approval on their websites. Some municipalities have sought ways around the legislation because it supersedes local zoning and height restrictions. 

In terms of clarifying, the bills add a preemption that floor area ratio, also known as the size of a project in relation to the site, can be up to 150 percent of the floor area ratio in that city and county. Municipalities would also be blocked from restricting unit density to the maximum of what is currently allowed in that city and county. 

De Yurre, who is working with clients on Live Local projects ranging from 80 units to 2,000 units,  said the House could vote on the bill within a couple of weeks. Then it would head to the governor for his signature. 

What we’re thinking about: The Justice Department is reportedly investigating New York and South Florida broker Brandon Charnas as part of a larger insider trading probe that could include Fontainebleau Development President Brett Mufson. Do you have any knowledge of the investigation? Send me a note at kk@therealdeal.com. 

CLOSING TIME 

Residential: Oleg Movchan, CEO of an investment management software company, and Beata Vaynberg sold their waterfront Boca Raton estate at 5001 Egret Point Circle for a record $29 million. The couple sold the nearly 14,900-square-foot mansion, with nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, to a hidden buyer. 

Commercial: Joined Development Partners paid $21.9 million for the Section 8 multifamily complex at 2050 Northwest 64th Street in Miami’s Liberty City. Southport Financial Services sold the 8-acre, 214-unit community. 

— Research by Adam Farence

NEW TO THE MARKET 

Weekly Dirt: Changes to Florida’s Affordable Housing Law Clear Hurdle
Dawn McKenna Group/Coldwell Banker Realty

The family of late financier John Donahue listed his Naples compound for $295 million, marking the most expensive residential listing in the U.S. The 9-acre estate, known as Gordon Pointe, is on the market with Dawn McKenna of Coldwell Banker in partnership with Leighton Candler of the Corcoran Group and Savills’ Rory McMullen. The property includes three houses, 1,650 feet of waterfront and a 231-foot private yacht basin. 

The existing record for residential sales in the country is held by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin’s $238 million purchase of a Manhattan penthouse in 2019. 

A thing we’ve learned 

Nickelodeon will broadcast its own version of the Super Bowl. Special guests on the kid-friendly broadcast will include characters from shows such as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer,” according to CBS Sports. 

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • The chief justice of Florida’s Supreme Court said he believes Florida voters “aren’t stupid” and would be able to understand a ballot initiative that looks to enshrine abortion protections in the state, Politico reports. Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the state to block the proposed amendment. The coalition backing the amendment collected nearly 1 million state-certified signatures, surpassing the requirement to make it on the 2024 ballot. 
  • An energy bill moving through the Florida Legislature would delete most references to climate change in state law, repealing entire sections of existing legislation and reducing regulations on natural gas pipelines, according to the Orlando Sentinel. 
  • A small airplane crashed into a vehicle, killing at least two people. The fiery crash shut down I-75 near Naples on Friday afternoon. The plane was traveling from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio to Naples, USA Today reports. 



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