BOCC narrows focus of future inclusionary zoning 

Alachua County Administration Building
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to continue looking into mandatory inclusionary zoning but require the housing policy for the entire unincorporated area.  

Instead, the commissioners asked staff to work with their consultants, the Florida Housing Coalition, on recommendations for implementing mandatory inclusionary zoning within certain areas of the county in coordination with the nine municipalities.  

The decision comes after a report by the county’s consultants that found mandatory inclusionary zoning would likely be ineffective in the area.  

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“I think state law has effectively kind of closed out [mandatory inclusionary zoning] for cost reimbursement except for in places like Palm Beach,” Commissioner Ken Cornell said during the Tuesday meeting.  

Inclusionary zoning requires developers to reserve a set number of rental units for lower-income tenants, but state law requires cities or counties with mandatory inclusionary zoning to repay developers for the cost. Typically, that repayment comes with high densities or lower application fees.  

Florida Housing Coalition said the developers they spoke with weren’t interested in density bonuses, and the county also gives those bonuses for certain development applications. The coalition also noted the need for rentals for people making 60% of the area’s median income, placing the deficit at 5,000 units.  

The BOCC also asked staff to look at city requirements. The study said that beginning mandatory inclusionary zoning might just push developers across city boundaries where those requirements don’t exist, increasing the need for a coordinated approach.  

The city of Gainesville is already in talks to implement mandatory inclusionary zoning. The City Plan Board voted on the issue over the summer, but the item has yet to appear before the City Commission.  

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Inclusionary housing should NOT mean gov’t subsidized *rentals*, which is more of the same neighborhood-ruinous policy as before. It should however help low income first time homeownership, especially single young adults not going to college immediately after graduating high school. Those are the problematic ones facing major challenges competing with college students for rentals and jobs, but native youth who aren’t going to UF or SFC until they have time to decide if and when. Make single occupancy housing for that group, the way we used to for retirees on SSA fixed incomes. After all a minimum wage job is a fixed income, too. Owned, not rented.

Donald Shoup

The Gainesville City Plan Board *hasn’t* voted on inclusionary zoning. It has been presented to them a couple of times but they haven’t voted to send anything to the city commission yet.


As a professional planner with over 20-years experience, inclusionary zoning is a terrible idea and should never be a mandate. I would argue that mandating inclusionary zoning is unconstitutional, and I hope that someone challenges it in court. I’m all for providing developers with the option to develop utilizing inclusionary zoning and being offered density bonuses if it is the developer’s choice. I agree with the study. If Alachua County adopts mandatory inclusionary zoning, development will cease and developers will just develop in other jurisdictions.
Housing and housing cost are huge issues that needs to be tackled; but, inclusionary zoning is not the answer. If we really want to provide housing for everyone, we need to actually look at the issue associated with astronomical and unsustainable home prices and fix those issue. There is a reason developers do not build “starter homes” anymore. There is no profit margin.
Until the cost of building materials gets back to normal and artificial inflation goes down, the days of housing being “affordable” is long gone. It’s economic, not zoning!