Council Approves Plan to Encourage More Affordable Housing Development in the City of Melbourne

The Melbourne City Council has approved a conceptual plan to make changes to city code that will help reduce costs and provide additional incentives to encourage more affordable housing development in the City of Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne currently has many incentives in city code to encourage affordable housing, such as the deferral of impact fees for the development of affordable housing units dependent upon the household income level. However, the need for affordable housing units is great, and Council has set a goal to increase the supply of affordable housing as part of a greater plan to reduce homelessness in the City of Melbourne.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and City staff recently completed a thorough review of the city’s current affordable housing incentives to determine what was working well and what could be improved. This study led to the following proposed changes to city code that were presented to Council at the September 29, 2021, meeting:

  • Allow a carport in lieu of an enclosed garage for single-family units.
  • Reduce required parking for one-bedroom multifamily units to one parking space.
  • Allow all multifamily residential parking spaces to be 10 feet in width.
  • Allow a decrease in the minimum living area for single-family units from 1,000 square feet to:
    • 550 square feet for a one-bedroom unit,
    • 650 square feet for a two-bedroom unit,
    • 800 square feet for a three-bedroom unit, and
    • an additional 100 square feet for any additional bedrooms.
  • Allow accessory dwelling units on lots greater than 14,520 square feet instead of the current one-acre (43,560 square feet) requirement.
  • Reduce building setbacks for multifamily structures over one story in height.
  • Reduce the buffer area requirement for multifamily development from 50 feet to 30 feet and allow an opaque fence instead of a masonry wall when abutting single-family units.
  • Allow single-family infill lots to utilize the affordable housing development standards.
  • Allow residential development within a C-1 zoning district without requiring a conditional use.
  • Remove required thresholds for a minimum number of units in each income level to allow a development to be directed at one or multiple income level thresholds. (City Code currently requires 30% to 40% of the units from all three income categories.)
  • Allow a streamlined occupancy timeline for affordable units: 50% completion of affordable units when the overall development is 50% complete and then 100% completion of affordable units when the development is 100% complete.
  • Provide a minimum affordability timeframe of 20 years for the use of the development standards and to be incorporated into the Land Use Restriction Agreement.

Council gave conceptual approval of these changes and directed staff to return with an ordinance for future City Council review. The plan also calls for an allowance for a density bonus for the development of affordable housing units that will need to go to the Department of Economic Opportunity for review before it can be incorporated into city code.

For more information:

  • Watch the presentation by Community Development Director Cindy Dittmer and City Council’s discussion during the September, 29, 2021, City Council meeting.
  • Read the agenda memo from the September 29, 2021, City Council meeting.
  • Call Community Development — 321-608-7500 — if you have questions about developing affordable housing in the City of Melbourne.
Cheryl Mall, Public Information Officer, City of Melbourne