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Palm Coast Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 11 months ago

Need for affordable housing discussed at latest Common Ground Breakfast

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The panel included Jason DeLorenzo, Charlie Faulkner, Memory Hopkins, Adam Mengel and Ray Tyner.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

The lack of affordable housing options was the hot-button issue addressed at the latest Common Ground Breakfast hosted by the Flagler Chamber.

Dozens of interested residents from around the county packed into a room at the Hilton Garden Inn on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 30, to listen to a panel discuss managing Flagler County’s growth. The panel included Jason DeLorenzo from the Flagler Home Builders Association, Charlie Faulkner from Faulkner and Associates, Flagler County Association of Realtors President Memory Hopkins, Adam Mengel from the Flagler County Planning Department and Ray Tyner from the City of Palm Coast Planning Department.

The panel used the word “diversity” to refer to having multiple affordable housing options.

“It’s exactly what it is: a diversity of housing choices,” Faulkner said. “People like to have options. Different people like different things.”

Faulkner said City Council has been working on creating affordable options, especially for the area’s young professionals and service workers who can’t afford a single-family home. In addition, Faulkner said the council approved the re-zoning of a location on Old Kings Road where a future Walmart may be.

“What better area to live in an apartment or condo to walk to your service?” he said. “We’re making strides.”

However, Hopkins said the county needs to be more active in providing options.

“I think we are lacking in diverse housing,” she said. “More condominiums, more multifamily housing would help with that.”

DeLorenzo said the county has minimum standards and minimum housing sizes for zoning.

“The implication is, you’re zoning out the smaller, you’re zoning out the cheaper,” he said. “And you’re seeing it in other places throughout Florida as well.”

In addition to affordable housing, the panel also fielded questions about the county’s infrastructure. One member of the audience asked the panel if the county is prepared to handle a possible boom in population growth.

Both Tyner and Mengel reassured the audience the county is planning ahead, despite some of the public’s concern with communication of the plan.

Mengel said much of the planning is behind the scenes.

“You don’t want to build after the need, and you don’t want to overbuild and exhaust your resources,” he said. “Planning is not very sexy. It’s nerdy.”

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