Op-Ed: Tampa Bay Needs More, Denser Housing

With rents skyrocketing and the region facing a steep housing shortage, housing advocates argue now is the time for zoning reform that encourages missing middle housing and transit-oriented development.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 18, 2023, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Hillsborough River

Rents in the Tampa Bay region have gone up by double digits in the years since the pandemic began. | Rick Lewis / Shutterstock

In an opinion piece for the Tampa Bay Times, Nathan Hagen and Elizabeth Strom call on Floridians to support policies and policymakers that promote more housing construction in the region, which has become one of the most unaffordable in the country. Even before the pandemic upended the U.S. housing market, Florida was short 300,000 housing units, and the crisis has only deepened.

There are no quick fixes to housing affordability, but one thing is certain: To address increasing costs, we need to build more housing.

According to the article, finding land for building new housing is one of the most pressing problems for South Florida developers. Yet “Today, an estimated 80% of Tampa’s residential areas are restricted to single-family housing, including neighborhoods near downtown that have good access to jobs, shops and schools. These would seem to be exactly the places where new housing should be built.”

The authors call on Florida residents to recognize the need for increased density and changes to outdated zoning codes that don’t account for current population growth. “With a March election that’s sure to shake up the City Council, we have an opportunity to find out who is really ready to do the right thing. Who is willing to fight for density in our comprehensive plan? To legalize ADUs (accessory dwelling units that are a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot)? To reduce parking minimums? And to fix our zoning code?”

Friday, January 13, 2023 in Tampa Bay Times

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