DAYTONA BEACH – Last year there were 18,588 low-income rental households in Volusia County, with residents spending over 40% of their income on rent and utilities.
A Winter Park developer wants to help reduce the number of troubled tenants a bit by building 304 affordable apartments near the intersection of Clyde Morris and LPGA boulevards.
Clyde Morris Landings Partners also wants financial incentives from the Daytona Beach and Volusia County governments to make this happen for 216 of the low-income renter apartments. A proposed deal already signed by the company’s executive vice president Jay Brock will be put to a vote at Wednesday night’s city committee meeting.
If the commissioners accept the deal, the city will have to pay Clyde Morris Landings Partners up to $ 60,000 each year for 15 years. This annual payment would be a refund of 95% of the city’s property taxes for the 216 apartments in the complex.
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This annual payment from the city would decrease by $ 500 for every low-income apartment that hasn’t been rented for at least six months each year.
The operator of the apartment would be required to provide an annual report to the City Manager attesting to compliance with the requirements of the agreement. The report should include an affidavit certifying compliance signed by the operator’s general manager.
The county council will also be asked to reimburse 95% of the taxes it would normally have collected on the 216 affordable apartments, said deputy city attorney Ben Gross.
The city’s agreement hinges on a written agreement with the county that promises annual payments to apartments for 15 years. If the county does not approve an agreement within 90 days of the city’s agreement coming into effect, the city’s agreement would be deemed null and void.
The roughly $ 900,000 the developer would get from the city alone over 15 years would help cover the costs of the 216 apartments that would earn rent well below the market rate.
With local wages far behind rising rents, Daytona Beach City Commissioners are eager to see more affordable housing built in the city.
“In my opinion, this is a huge step in the direction we need to take,” said Mayor Derrick Henry, who said he has been working on the deal for over a year. “Frankly, we could use 10 projects like this. The need cannot be overstated.”
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Safe, decent and well-built accommodation
The affordable apartments would be part of a 392 unit complex already under construction on a site east of Clyde Morris Boulevard and south of LPGA Boulevard. The apartment complex is called Clyde Morris Landings and will consist of 17 multi-family residential buildings spread over 24 acres.
In addition to the 216 affordable housing units targeted under the agreement with the city, there would be 88 more affordable apartments for senior renters. The remaining 88 apartments in the complex would be rented at market rates and would have no age restrictions for tenants.
The developer plans to potentially add another 340 apartments at unrestricted market price that would be called The Reserve at Clyde Morris Landings. That would make a big tally of 732 apartments on the site in North Daytona Beach.
The affordable apartments would be clustered in the same buildings, but there would be no signage or anything else to distinguish them from market-priced apartment buildings, Deputy City Manager Jim Morris said on Monday. All apartments and buildings are also built to the same standards for “safe, decent” and “well-built” housing, he noted.
Affordable apartments should be designed, built and maintained to the same standard and quality as market-priced apartments. All apartments would have the same floor plan and the same finishes. Tenants of affordable housing would also have the same access to amenities and parking at the complex.
The 216 affordable apartments would include 48 one-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom apartments, 155 three-bedroom apartments and five four-bedroom units.
Some of the apartments have already been built and have received a certificate of occupancy from the city, so they can be rented out when the owner is ready, Morris said.
The developer is using Volusia County Housing Finance Authority multi-family mortgage income bonds and low-income housing tax credits to help finance the construction of the affordable units.
The grant that the developer is requesting from the city would start to flow every year once the apartment has been built. The deal says the apartment complex is expected to be completed by the end of this year. If by December 31, construction is not nearly complete and the city has not issued certificates of occupancy, the deal would be canceled.
An overview of rental rates
Tenants in the complex’s affordable apartments would pay rent – including taxes, insurance and utilities – that would not exceed 30% of the tenant’s annual income. None of the 216 affordable apartments under the city agreement could be rented at market rates during the 15-year agreement.
Under US Department of Housing and Urban Development rules, the amount of rent paid by low-income tenants would be based on their family size, the number of bedrooms they wanted in an apartment, and the median income of their county. The median household income in Volusia County is currently $ 65,400.
A family of four in Volusia County, for example, who had an annual family income of $ 26,500 and wanted a three-bedroom apartment would not have to pay more than $ 719 per month in rent.
A couple with a family income of $ 17,420 who wanted a one-bedroom apartment could expect to pay no more than $ 389 per month in rent. A family of five with a family income of $ 56,500 who wanted a three-bedroom apartment would be capped at $ 1,360 per month for rent.
The operator of the apartment complex would also be able to accept vouchers provided by the Housing Authority of Daytona Beach.
Market rents would be around $ 1,400 for a one-bedroom apartment, $ 1,700 for two bedrooms and $ 2,000 for three bedrooms.
Henry said that “it is not sustainable” for the city to have rents so high above wages. And it’s not just a Daytona Beach problem, the mayor said. Rent exceeds wages throughout Volusia County, he said.