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Editorial: A smarter plan for housing

Published: February 2, 2018 Updated: February 2, 2018 at 05:31 PM
Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

The Tampa Bay area is ripe for housing development known as the "missing middle," higher-density structures that comport with the scale of existing neighborhoods. Think two-story fourplexes, not imposing condo towers, intermingled with single-family homes. For communities with high real estate prices and high demand, planners should take notice of creative solutions like this one.

Middle housing appeals to young people and retirees. It’s suitable for urban settings and transitional districts between neighborhoods and downtowns. And it’s more affordable. Tampa Bay already has examples of middle housing. The Times’ Richard Danielson notes Ybor City’s shotgun homes that originally housed cigar factory workers and newer developments such as Hayes Park Village in Oldsmar, a community of 52 townhouses clustered around green space.

Planners note middle housing can increase density without altering a neighborhood’s character. The St. Petersburg City Council rejected a 23-story condo tower Thursday after residents objected to the proposal’s imposing shadow. Middle housing could be an agreeable middle ground between preservationists and developers. Local governments should make sure their zoning laws accommodate more of it.