Tallahassee's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Woes

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Tallahassee was the first Florida city to adopt an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance requiring 10 percent of new developments to include homes priced at a max of $159,000. The hope was to open the doors of home ownership to families otherwise priced out of the market, but it also opened the door to legal action.

The Florida Home Builders Association and the Tallahassee Board of Realtors filed a suit against the ordinance in February. A Leon County circuit judge dismissed that case last week.

Jim English, Tallahassee City Attorney, said, "He granted our motion to dismiss and found that the parties that filed the case could not show they had standing to challenge the ordinance, so as it stands it's dismissed."

The Home Builders Association says it is considering filing an amended suit and still contending the ordinance is not only unconstitutional, but could also push housing costs even higher.

Edie Ousley, FHBA's Public Affairs Director, said, "Inclusionary zoning simply does not provide affordable homes. It actually increases the price of homes anywhere from $22,000 to $44,000."

The deadline to file an amended suit or appeal is late next week. The judge told the home builders and realtors the amended suit must include allegations of how they've been impacted by the ordinance. The city says that could be "a difficult hurdle."

There are at least four developments subject to the new ordinance that went into effect in October, including K-2 Urban Corp's Evening Rose on Capital Circle and Mahan.