Chamber Housing Recommendations - Next Steps
By: Brooks Wallington
Chief Investment Strategist, Hughes & Wallington Investment Management
Public Policy Chair, St. Petersburg Chamber
Through the course of 2022, the St. Pete Chamber's Housing, Land Use and Development committee convened monthly, hosted an internal housing summit as well as a community conversation that culminated into what would be our Chamber of Commerce Strategic Housing Plan. The goal was to address the housing crisis that St Petersburg specifically is experiencing and to have targeted goals to achieve attainable housing for all.
After the strategic plan was formalized, we then gathered a group of chamber leaders and volunteers to meet with each city council member and shared our ideas with them. Our goal was to get a sense of what they thought and if they had any additional ideas or hesitations with our plan. Each meeting was well received by each council member and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We learned about each council members' unique challenges within their district, listened to the stories that they had heard from constituents and landed on common goals that we could collectively work on together.
The top takeaways that I found were:
1) The city was already in the works in rezoning recommendations we had come to from speaking with various chamber members and leaders in the community, so progress was already in the works.
2) Not one idea alone could solve the issue of attainable housing and that this would be a multifaceted approach city wide.
3) The goal to add supply was a common theme, but also keeping community character and design was equally important to most council members.
Our chamber was excited with some unique ideas as well such as a "Granny Flat Tax”, that would help offset costs associated with ADU’s as well as other unique ways we can use our existing land and housing supply. I was honored to spend the time with each council member and look forward to making similar meetings more regular in the future and working together on common goals to make St Pete the best place on earth to live, work, and play!