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WINTER PARK, FL-In response to its small portfolio of affordable housing, elected officials in this affluent Orlando suburb want developers to subsidize new affordable housing when they ask the city to increase the size of their own for-profit projects. The city estimates an affordable home here will cost $196,000.

Of the 1,150 new affordable apartments built in the last 10 years, for-profit developers built only 38 units, the city maintains. The city built 75 affordable units on its own in the same period. From now on, however, the city wants 15% of all new housing to be affordable. The average volume to date has been 10% achieved by private and public projects, city staffers confirm for GlobeSt.com.

The city’s proposed new policy would have developers provide one affordable apartment, condo or house for every four extra units they might seek under a rezoning application. Under the proposal, developers could provide affordable housing on-site or off-site; give the city land to build an affordable home; or pay $150,000 cash per unit to the city.

Most developers don’t like the city’s latest idea. They would prefer to voluntarily provide affordable housing when their budget allows them to do so, area builders tell GlobeSt.com. “What this new policy will do will drive up costs of the new, for-profit homes and possibly restrict supply of new product as well,” an Orlando developer who asked for anonymity tells Globest.com.

However, Winter Park officials don’t see it that way at all. They argue voluntary development of affordable housing by for-profit builders has never worked in the past. Developers maintain they already subsidize some affordable housing by the 50-cents-per-sf fee they pay on all new for-profit projects.

This linkage fee expects to generate about $350,000 annually, city officials confirm. That would pay for the city’s near-future acquisition of two vacant lots, especially on Winter Park’s west side where six lots are currently listed from $160,000 to $180,000 each, according to city planner Jeff Briggs.

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