County Commission adopts legislation to expedite permitting process for affordable housing ahead of County Housing Summit
MIAMI-DADE – On October 3, 2019, the Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously adopted legislation to expedite the permitting process for affordable and workforce housing developments. Sponsored by Commissioner Eileen Higgins, District 5, this legislation was approved by the Commission in advance of the County’s Affordable Housing Summit taking place today, Oct. 7.
The legislation mandates that affordable housing developments be prioritized across all County departments. The item also directs County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration to prepare a report on the current permitting process and to propose shortened timelines for review by County agencies such as Miami-Dade Water and Sewer and the Division of Environmental Resources Management. The item also directs the administration to begin moving all County departments to electronic and concurrent review of permits, which will significantly reduce delays in the permitting process, and to study how to integrate these systems with municipalities when applications overlap.
“Affordable housing is the first issue on my mind every morning,” said Commissioner Higgins. “I’ve heard time and again that delays in the permitting process are a significant impediment to the development of affordable housing. In this business, time is money, and the longer a site sits idle while it moves through the permitting process, the less likely it will include affordable units. Improving our own permitting process is the first, and easiest, thing the County can do to expedite and incentivize the development of affordable housing.”
The current permitting approval process for new housing developments can vary from six to 18 months, and delays and regulatory costs may prevent the viability of affordable housing developments. Expediting the timeline for permitting of new affordable housing will incentivize developers to invest resources in creating affordable housing developments in our County.
Miami-Dade County is currently in the midst of one of the worst affordable housing crises in the country. From extremely low-income to middle-class residents and families, many households are devoting more than half of their income to housing costs.
Today, through the leadership of Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, Chair of the Housing, Social Services and Economic Development Committee, the Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Department is hosting the first affordable housing summit: “Closing in on 10,000 – A Housing Summit.” Attendees are learning about specific affordable housing projects in various stages of development. Attendees are also engaging with stakeholders including developers, local governments, community members, bankers and investors on specific projects such as transit-oriented developments, elderly housing, Rental Assistance Demonstration projects, and the use of public land.
“I am delighted to attend the Affordable Housing Summit today. Together with the Board’s approval to expedite affordable housing permits, it shows the County is working diligently on our most pressing community issue,” Commissioner Higgins said. “We need to use all the tools in our toolbelt, including the effective use of public land for housing, to make real progress on the development of more affordable housing for our residents.”