NEW PORT RICHEY — The rezoning of a little more than an acre of vacant land has paved the way for construction an affordable housing project.
Last week, the City Council unanimously voted to rezone 1.2 acres from office to residential use on the south side of High Street, between Beach and Maple streets. The property will be developed by the affordable housing nonprofit, Tampa Bay Community Development Corp., through its partnership with Pasco County Community Development. The Pasco agency is funding the project using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants.
The homes are projected to be priced around $110,000, development director Lisa Fierce told the council.
Homes sales are geared toward low- to moderate-income buyers. Potential buyers' income must be less than 120 percent of the median household income and they can also receive up to $30,000 in down payment assistance from the county. For instance, to qualify, a family of four would have to make less than $68,000, according to Pasco Community Development manager George Romagnoli. The homes also have to be owner-occupied for a minimum of five years, meaning they cannot be rented or flipped.
The project will be similar to one finished earlier this year on School Road across from Gulf High School, where Tampa Bay CDC built six homes between 1,400 and 1,500 square feet. The homes on High Street will be similar, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached two-car garage.
Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips expressed excitement over the High Street project saying the homes on School Road have improved the neighborhood greatly. Council member Jeff Starkey agreed, adding that a new development on High Street would curtail crime reported in the area.
"I just think it's a great idea," Starkey said.