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City approves affordable housing zoning code changes

Qualifying developers will now be able to build in industrial and commercial zones with a faster approval process.

Interior of Lakeland City Hall Commission Chamber

Commissioners unanimously voted for the change.

Photo by the City of Lakeland

In Monday’s city commission meeting, commissioners voted to amend Lakeland’s Land Use Development Code. The code will now allow qualifying affordable multifamily housing in non-residential zoning areas.

Developers won’t need zoning change approval from commissioners. They’ll just need to check how their plans fit with the architectural styles and use of adjacent land with a compatibility review from the Planning and Zoning Board. The outcome? A faster planning process before construction can begin.

The change will allow for more affordable housing in certain commercial and industrial areas, subject to location and development requirements. To qualify, developments must:

  • Be within .25 miles of a Transit Oriented Corridor or located along a fixed transit route
  • Be on a minimum of one acre of land
  • Have at least two stories and four units per building
  • Dedicate at least 25% of units affordable for those earning 120% or less of the Area Median Income
A map showing zoning for Lakeland, FL

Use this map to see industrial zones (gray) and commercial zones (light red)

Map by the City of Lakeland

The city offers an interactive zoning map where you can see how areas are currently zoned. Wondering where a new development could pop up next? Here are a few non-residential areas zoned for commercial and industrial use that could now be home to more housing:

  • Between Bartow Road and South Combee Road
  • Rose Street
  • Highway 98 North
  • Kathleen Road
  • Lakeland Hills Boulevard
  • South of East Edgewood Drive

In our Q+A with Brian Rewis, we learned that the Community Redevelopment Agency has been working on a strategic plan for the East Main Street area. Most of this area is currently zoned for light industrial use, but new housing units could soon be built here thanks to this code amendment.

Where would you like to see new affordable multifamily housing in Lakeland? Take our survey to share your thoughts.