The Crestview City Council held a regular meeting Monday night and discussed two ordinances related to a proposed 94-unit townhome development on North Avenue East.
- The council held the first reading of Ordinance 1955, which would amend the city’s comprehensive plan and change the future land use designation from Public Lands to Mixed Use for the 5.45-acre property.
- They also held the first reading of Ordinance 1956, which would rezone the property to Planned Unit Development (PUD).
The proposed Patriot Park development, a collaborative effort between the city, Eglin Air Force Base, and a private developer, aims to provide affordable housing for military members.
City Manager Tim Bolduc explained how the unique partnership will work. Eglin Air Force Base has an agreement with the developer to send rent payments directly from the military’s housing allowance to the property owner. This allows military members to rent the townhomes at the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, covering rent and utilities with no additional out-of-pocket expenses (such as deposits).
Bolduc said this will prevent situations where airmen pay inflated rental rates in the private market due to their guaranteed housing stipends. By renting at cost through the BAH program, the townhomes will offer nicer accommodations without service members having to spend more than their allowance.
- “If I can take any number of those tenants with the ability to inflate the market, if I can take them out of the market, then hopefully that will, in some way, begin to help the market right itself,” Bolduc said.
The city manager said Eglin leadership was excited for the opportunity to provide incoming airmen with housing, rather than send them unassisted into the local market. He said the development benefits the community without requiring government subsidies, as the developer is privately financing construction.
The city’s role was working to enable the needed housing density through its comprehensive plan and zoning approval process. Bolduc said this allows the developer to make the project financially viable as affordable units.
The Planning and Development Board recommended approval of the comprehensive plan amendment on Nov. 6. The PUD zoning would limit the property to the proposed townhomes.
Two residents spoke against the development during public comment, citing concerns about increased traffic and infrastructure impacts. Councilman Ryan Bullard shared those concerns, saying the additional 150-200 vehicles would overload the two-lane roads in the area.
“I can’t support it based on that,” Bullard said.
Other council members argued the area could accommodate the development, pointing to multiple entry and exit routes. Traffic studies would also be conducted as part of the approval process.
Bolduc said the development furthers the city’s initiative to partner with Eglin Air Force Base and address community issues like housing and childcare availability. This project would take airmen off the private rental market, opening up housing stock for civilians and reducing upward pressure on prices, Bolduc said.
The developer agreement requires military personnel to be given priority access to the new units, according to the city.
- The ordinances passed first reading, with Bullard dissenting. They will come back for a second reading on December 11. If approved, the developer could begin construction.