Affordable housing proposed off Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Sanford

A nonprofit that owns land along Ronald Reagan Boulevard is seeking approval to build an affordable housing community off of the busy corridor.

Longwood-based The Sharing Center, which offers services to homeless and at-risk populations in Seminole County, wants to build a 79-unit affordable housing community at 6498 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Sanford. The community, to be called Five Points Village, is proposed to include 18 one-bedroom, 43 two-bedroom, and 18 three-bedroom units. The minimum living area for the smallest units will be 550 square feet.

The property, which will consist of 50% open space, spans 5.6 acres. Application materials indicate that the community will include nine buildings of up to two stories, along with the addition of an amenitized clubhouse. The Sharing Center owns nearly half of the land, while Dale & Company LLC owns the northern half of the property.

Nina Yon, President & CEO of The Sharing Center, declined to comment.

The project went before the Sanford City Commission on Monday night. However, it was continued until the next City Commission meeting on July 22 because the applicants are requesting approval for two measures, one pertaining to a comprehensive plan amendment and another for a rezoning of the land to allow for multifamily uses on the property. The Commission delayed a vote on the project to allow for both measures to come before them at once.

On June 6, Five Points Village received a unanimous vote of approval from the Sanford Planning and Zoning Commission for both the comprehensive plan amendment and the rezoning of the property.

Scott Banta, Executive Vice President at Dreamquest Tiny Neighborhoods, a developer that focuses on attainable housing, spoke on behalf of the applicants before the Planning and Zoning Commission. During the meeting, several community members voiced concerns about the project, including an increase in traffic and the fact that the apartments would be built right next to existing homes.

One community member, Zab Watson, said she was concerned by the rapid pace of development off of Ronald Reagan Boulevard. “I don’t want it to look like Downtown Orlando,” she said.

Banta acknowledged these concerns and explained that he supports the addition of a mason wall and landscaping to provide a buffer between the future apartments and existing single-family homes. Additionally, he explained that the applicants plan on owning the property for the long haul.

“We want to be good neighbors, and we will do our best to provide landscaping wherever we can to enhance the project. We’re not a developer that’s coming in to put this up and then sell it in two years,” he said.

Proposed elevation of the clubhouse. (Courtesy of CPC)
Proposed elevation of the clubhouse. (Courtesy of CPC)

Banta also noted that a traffic study found that residential has a lower traffic impact than the existing commercial land use and zoning. Banta didn’t confirm how heavily subsidized the units will be, but he did confirm that the apartments will be rented at below market rate.

“It is an affordable housing project, which is generating what we’re calling workforce-achievable housing. It’s directed toward the missing middle, so it’ll be below market-rate rents. This gives this Commission the opportunity to provide more affordable housing in the City of Sanford,” he said.

There is a growing need for affordable housing in Central Florida. A 2023 report from Apartment List found that Florida had the highest percentage of cost-burdened renters of any state in the country, as defined by the percentage of renters spending more than 30% of their monthly income on rent. 60.3% of Florida renters and 60.06% of Orlando-area renters were cost-burdened, compared to the national average of 52%. Due to the relatively modest income of many renters in the area, the Orlando market ranked higher on the list than notoriously expensive metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Boston.

Other companies working on the project include Central Florida Engineering Consultants and architecture firm CPC.

Five Points Village is located down the street from The Reagan Center PD on the old Flea World site. In June, the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve a rezoning of the property that will allow for up to 1,003 apartments, a 200-room hotel, and about 1.3 million square feet of retail and office space on 75 acres.

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