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Rome Yard leaders promise affordability across multiple projects

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Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 23:35:57-05

TAMPA, Fla — When it comes to the proposed Rome Yard project in West Tampa, people in the area have made it clear that it must-have community amenities, artwork, and an ode local history.

But above all else, they said they want affordability.

In an update meeting on the development Monday, project leaders spoke about these concerns.

"How do you define affordable housing? Is it income-based?" asked a meeting participant Monday.

The project is being done in partnership between the city and developers. And according to the city, 600 of the project's 954 units will be listed as "affordable."

At Monday's meeting, a project leader defined affordability as not charging "more than 30% of their adjusted income," to those that "qualify" to live in the development.

ABC Action News spoke to the co-leader of YIMBY Tampa, Nathan Hagen, about the development. Hagen said he likes what he's seeing so far, but added that given the current housing market, the Tampa Bay area needs more projects like this soon.

"We're in a crisis," he said.

To help address rising rents and a shortage of available spaces, Hagen told ABC Action News that the city needs to focus on holding other developers accountable on their definitions of "affordable housing."

He also added that the city needs to work to rezone more land for residential use and be more flexible on its rules when it comes to how many units can be built on smaller single-family lots.

"[Right now] it excludes the possibility of people participating in their own improvement of their property. You know, they can't take their land and go from a single-family home to a duplex," he said.

The Rome Yard project is expected to be finished in six years.

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To help address the need for more affordable housing in the city Rome Yard project leaders also announced Monday that they're working with the Tampa Housing Authority on another housing project in the area.

They said it will have 1,600 units and the focus will be affordability.