Time Winding Down on Home Builders Lawsuit Against City of Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee has about a month left to respond to a lawsuit filed against its inclusionary housing ordinance. The city says it plans to respond to the suit before the May 15 deadline.

The ordinance requires that 10 percent of new developments with 50 or more homes fall under the affordable housing category, a maximum price of about $159,000.

We caught up with one builder who says it can be done economically. One of the first developers to jump on board with the city voluntarily was the K-2 Corporation.

David Wamsley, CEO, says, "We want to see if there is a way we can do it and make it economically viable. I think people around Tallahassee as well as the state are looking at this as test case; can K-2 make this work?"

Wamsley says he's confident it can work and that it can be done fairly. However, the Florida Home Builders Association isn't so sure. In fact, it's challenging the ordinance, claiming it's unconstitutional.

Edie Ousley says, “What it essentially does is that government sets the prices of homes. The market no longer dictates what the sale price of the house will be."

Ousley says the ordinance could even cost home buyers an additional $22,000 to $44,000, but the city says that's not the case because of the cost saving incentives offered to the builders in return.

For now the battle continues to brew over the answer to the affordable housing. The Home Builders Association is one of several groups challenging the city ordinance. It says it supports affordable housing efforts. This particular ordinance, however, they say is not the answer.

As far as the incentives the city is offering builders higher density, allowing developers to build and sell more homes. Inclusionary homes are also exempt from traffic improvements developers are usually required to make.