At a public meeting Tuesday, the City’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) introduced the idea of linkage fees as local funding sources to reduce the impact of the current affordable housing crisis.
A linkage fee is assessed on new commercial and residential developments to help communities meet the need for workforce housing. The costs are calculated on a square foot basis or a per unit basis.
Despite the scheduled agenda to discuss development programs, the Penny for Pinellas Funding and CRA Housing Programs, citizens raised questions about the proposed idea.
Has it been done before?
According to Rob Gerdes, the Neighborhood Affairs administrator, in 2007 Florida conducted a nexus study recommending the fee, which included Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.
The study collected data about housing needs and market conditions, and showed recommended commercial development linkage fees at a time of “market interest and emphasis on inclusionary zoning policies,” he explained.