The Community Housing Trust of Sarasota County would acquire land and approve developers to build homes for moderate-income families. Buyers, who would purchase the homes without the land or its costs, would hold 99-year leases on the land and face price-appreciation caps upon resale. Trust organizers expect critics to say that land trusts don't allow home buyers to build as much equity as homes bought with land. According to trust supporters, however, buyers who can only afford homes bought through the trust won't be deterred. Plus, donors aren't interested in supporting a program that doesn't ensure long-term affordability, said a county business leader.
County commissioners and local housing advocates deserve praise for launching a community land trust at a time when home values have outstripped the average wages of teachers, police, and other local workers, according to an editorial in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. But big challenges lie ahead, the article said. The trust must seek to coordinate its activities with other housing programs, including efforts to build denser housing in downtown Sarasota. The initiative should also encourage or require employer participation, ensure sufficient community representation among board members, and include rental offerings for retirees and low-income families, the article said.
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