By Bryan Boggiano
A vacant plot of land north of Riverside Drive and Sample Road could hold the key to affordable housing.
The city commission unanimously approved multiple items at their Wednesday meeting to jumpstart a project with Habitat for Humanity that would increase housing options.
For the project, the city and Habitat for Humanity to construct 13 townhouses on two plots of land north of Sample Road and along Riverside Drive.
The city commission’s vote includes approving a memorandum of understanding to detail project terms and expectations.
The units will be available solely to families making less than or equal to 120 percent of the area median income.
A restrictive covenant will permit only residential use on the property for 30 years.
They also approved funding for construction and special exceptions related to project development.
The funding includes a $375,000 grant from the affordable housing trust fund 117 for construction, permitting, and design services.
The special exceptions involve waiving petition fees for the planning and zoning board. The board will consider unspecified special exceptions in November, which will then go to the commission.
Commissioner Nancy Metayer moved to approve the memorandum of understanding, which Commissioner Shawn Cerra seconded.
Commissioner Joy Carter moved to approve the grant funding, which Metayer seconded.
Metayer also moved to approve waiving the petition fees, which Cerra seconded.
All measures passed unanimously.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this project come to life,” said Metayer.
The city originally purchased the land in 1995 to alleviate potential parking issues after widening Riverside Drive. The vacant land would have been a parking lot.
After city staff adopted the affordable housing ordinance in 2006, they identified the vacant land around Riverside Drive as a potential affordable housing development site.
In 2021, developers presented to an inter-departmental panel, including the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, the city manager’s office, and development services.
In May, the city declared the lots as surplus property, paving the way for Habitat for Humanity to purchase and develop the property.
“The difference you are all making is incredible,” said Nancy Robin, CEO and executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Broward.
- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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