County leaders look to acquire national forest for housing need
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The need for affordable housing is pushing one commissioner to propose a unique solution but not everyone is sold.
It surrounds ownership of land in the Apalachicola national forest near the Tallahassee international airport.
The untouched beauty of the Apalachicola forest is now at the center of the discussion for providing more affordable housing and development for the people of Leon County.
“That forest has been sitting out there ever since Moses was a little boy. And the federal government has no vision, no plan. And we need that land,” district one commissioner, Bill Proctor said.
Bill Proctor proposed to both city and county leaders this week that both governmental bodies approach the federal government to take over ownership of the 574-thousand-acre forest.
“We need it for affordable housing, we need it as a campus, designated campus for the homeless, we need it for new communities, we need it as a result of gentrification,” Procter said.
As for a price tag, Proctor says the people of Leon County have been footing the bill through federal income taxes for years and says it’s time for the federal government to “relinquish the land.” but the forest lies in the district of his colleague commissioner Christian Caban.
Caban believes a better alternative is increasing housing density in the city’s urban core and beyond.
“We have so much property that is zoned industrial that is sitting vacant,” commissioner Christian Caban said.
Caban says Capital Circle southwest, west Tharpe Street and west Orange Avenue are all options for expansion.
“It’s a great environmental treasure for our community. I look at it like the everglades of the panhandle,” Caban said.
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