Sarasota County recognizes affordable housing as a priority in our community and employs various approaches to serve different populations in our community. These strategies include:

  • Encouraging the market to provide diversity in housing types and affordability levels through land use policies, typically targeting low and moderate-income households and workforce housing. Explore the “Tools in Our Toolbox” and Density Bonuses below to learn more.
  • Supporting local non-profits in developing affordable housing for the aged, individuals with special needs and those with incomes ranging from moderate to extremely low, as well as workforce housing.
  • Forming a cooperative effort with the City of Sarasota through the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), which serves residents throughout Sarasota County, including the cities of Sarasota, Venice, and North Port. The OHCD administers state and federal funds for a variety of housing programs, such as the Home Repair Program and projects involving federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Please visit the OHCD webpage for more information about the variety of housing programs and resources available.
  • Supporting the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) in the regular review and recommendation of local policies and actions to further the development of affordable housing. The 2021 AHAC recommendations can be found in the Reports folder of the Document Library below.

American Rescue Plan Act/Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (ARPA/CLFRF)

On March 29, 2022, the Sarasota County BCC approved the dedication of $25 million of ARPA/CLFRF funding to assist multiple agencies in the creation of 696 affordable housing units in our County. These eight (8) projects will provide housing for residents with special needs, homeless/at risk populations, families with children, and household with incomes ranging from low to extremely low. Additional information is available in the Projects folder of the Document Library below.

Tools in Our Toolbox

Current strategies in expanding affordable housing in Sarasota County include:

County Surplus Properties

County owned properties that are declared surplus provide opportunities for affordable housing developments. Join the Property Management contact list if you have any questions regarding surplus properties or would like to be added to the notification list.

Sarasota County is currently negotiating for the sale and development of three properties with affordable housing components.

  • 2501 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way – A Purchase and Sale Agreement was approved by the BCC on March 29, 2022
  • 4644 N. Tamiami Trail – Sarasota County is currently negotiating a sale
  • N. McCall Road (PID# 0496150001) – Sarasota County is currently negotiating a sale

Commercial Redevelopment

Ordinance No. 2021-075 (adopted December 2021) allows upper-story residential dwelling units less than 750 square feet to count as one-half unit for density purposes.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Ordinance No. 2019-024 (adopted September 2019) allows ADUs in certain residential districts.

  • RSF – Residential, Single Family
  • RSF/PUD – Residential, Single-Family/Planned Unit Development (when adopted as part of a binding development concept plan)
  • RE – Residential, Estate

Half Dwelling Units

Ordinance No. 2019-004 (adopted March 2019) allows dwelling units less than 750 square feet to count as one-half unit for density purposes for multi-family development.

Impact Fee Rate Provisions

Ordinance No. 2018-011 (adopted April 2018) amended the Mobility Fee Ordinance to include reduced rates for smaller housing units (e.g., multi-units less than 750 square feet, micro-apartments, and tiny homes). 

Ordinance No. 2022-071 (adopted February 2023) allows for a 100% exception for Mobility, Library, and Park impact fees for multi-family developments meeting 60% or less of the AMI, and a 50% reduction in fees for developments providing units up to 80% AMI. Library and Park impact fees may be reduced 25% for units up to 120% AMI.

Parking Requirements

Ordinance No. 2017-069 (adopted January 2018) reduces parking requirements for multi- and single-family developments.

Utility Fee Rates

Resolution No. 2018-163 (amended August 2018 - Utilities Water and Wastewater Equivalent Dwelling Units Table) creates a new residential, master-metered category for a single-family dwelling of less than 750 square feet being established at 0.5 EDU (equivalent dwelling unit).

Expedited Permitting Procedures

Resolution 2017-178 (adopted October 2017) streamlines review processes for affordable housing by expediting the processing and permitting of developments and structures that would increase or enhance Affordable Housing.

Expedited processing is available for developments when a minimum of 15% of housing units are affordable for rent or ownership to households earning less than 100% area median income as adjusted annually. Development projects which are required to provide minimum amounts of affordable housing associated with their approvals shall provide, at a minimum, an additional 5% above the required units in order to be eligible for incentives identified herein. Note that expedited processing is not available when affordable housing is required by county code or comprehensive plan policy.

  Rezone or Special Exception
 Site and Development  Building Permits
Affordable Housing  4 months  10 working days  10 working days

Density Bonuses

Density bonuses may be offered within specific development types to incentivize the creation of affordable housing. These include:

  • Sarasota 2050 Villages
  • Mixed-use Developments
  • The Affordable Housing Overlay

Policies governing these incentives are in the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan (starting on page V1-197) and the Unified Development Code available online via Municode (external). An information table and map of these approved developments can be found in the Projects folder below.

Florida Statute 125.379

Florida Statute 125.379 requires that every three years, counties prepare a list of government-owned property that is appropriate for use as affordable housing.   On September 26, 2023, the County Commission held a discussion on this topic and identified no properties to be included on the inventory.

Live Local Act

The Live Local Act (LLA), SB 102 (2023), amended through SB 328 (2024), is a statewide attainable housing strategy to increase the availability of affordable housing across Florida. The LLA supports the development of multifamily residential housing, homeownership and creating innovative approaches for all housing markets. Sarasota County is required to allow multi-family affordable housing within any commercial, industrial, or mixed-use zone district if at least 40% of the units are affordable, as defined in the Act (AMI 80%-120%), for income-eligible households for a period of at least 30 years. Mixed-use projects must provide at least 65% of the total square footage for residential purposes. 

For full details, click here.

Affordable Housing Reports

Sarasota County has produced several reports including background information and demographics, strategies, best practices, and community input related to affordable housing. Additionally, the Florida Housing Coalition (FHC) developed a report with background and recommendations for our community. This research can be found in the Reports folder of the Document Library below.

Document Library