City of Fort Walton Beach approves $1,500,000 workforce housing incentive fund

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the Fort Walton Beach City Council unanimously approved by a $1.5 million workforce housing incentive fund.

This workforce housing incentive fund allows developers with plans for housing projects to potentially gain financial incentives from the City of Fort Walton Beach if the project meets the required number of units for workforce housing.

  • The financial incentives include the waiving of development fees, inspections, impact fees from water and sewer, and even potential purchases on certain pieces of property.

According to City Manager Michael Beedie, the main goal of the project is to increase housing units available to the city at a more affordable cost to the buyer.

“Any costs we can take out on the initial development will help to reduce the cost to the actual renter or purchaser,” said Beedie.

The $1,500,000 budget will stay in place for use of applicable development agreements and each year it will be discussed as whether or not to replenish, reduce, or remove it. City Manager Michael Beedie says it will all depend on how the funding is being used.

“I think this is a great step in the right direction,” he added. “We are working with the FWB Chamber, the county and other partners to develop a plan county-wide, but we didn’t want to wait, we wanted to go ahead and get this in place.”

Beedie acknowledged that with current property prices in Fort Walton Beach, the fund wouldn’t last long if the City were to begin outright purchasing properties. However, he says they can really stretch fund through waiving fees.

Each fund request will be submitted to the City Council through the form of a Development Agreement for review and approval.

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