Smart growth solutions explored for attainable housing crisis

Realizing the American dream of homeownership provides long-term social and financial benefits to families and is an important element of a community’s overall economic welfare. The Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) is committed to having a positive impact on the future of our community through promoting attainable housing for individuals in all economic class levels.

Nick BobzienNick Bobzien

Nick Bobzien

In recent years, the inventory of homes for sale or rent in Naples has decreased dramatically while demand has continued to rise. As a result, a considerable amount of its affordable housing supply has vanished, leaving a void for working families that desperately want to obtain local residence.

As part of its legislative priorities this year, NABOR is determined to work with area policymakers and stakeholders like developers, builders and human service agencies to explore solutions to the attainable housing dilemma. We believe solving current housing underproduction may help to rebalance supply and demand, which may also mitigate extreme home price appreciation and rental cost increases in the future. NABOR is confident that a smart approach can be achieved by initiating open dialogue resulting in an environment that elevates housing choice and incentivizes developers to build more housing.

There are many solutions currently in practice across communities like ours in America that our industry supports. Some possibilities we should explore include local, state and federal programs that can be utilized to build more housing. For example, we can look at possible zoning changes that remove artificial barriers and any existing exclusionary policies to building housing. Other programs that may hold answers include impact fee programs, innovative mixed-use and “middle” housing solutions, fast-track permitting, repurposing underutilized properties and finding methods to revisit current density standards.

The fact that Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo recently introduced the Live Local plan (SB102), which aims to increase funding for existing housing programs, redirect documentary stamp revenue to workforce housing projects, and incentivize builders who initiate workforce housing projects or renovate older rental units, is a testament to the necessity of stakeholder collaboration that can result in action.

NABOR is steadfast in asking that any future progress – especially in the eastern part of the county – be mindful of its environmental impact, with particular attention on keeping water quality, wildlife habitats and public greenspace top of mind. Smart growth and edging toward solving housing underproduction can be a reality if we approach our attainable housing crisis with determination.

Nick Bobzien is president of the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Smart growth solutions explored for attainable housing crisis