Disney’s Affordable Housing Project Narrowly Passes Vote Despite Strong Resident Opposition (NEW Details, Income Range, Concept Art)

Published: February 17, 2024

At a meeting this past Thursday, Disney’s affordable housing project narrowly passed a vote from the Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission by a margin of 4-3. This is the second step in the process of getting the area zoned properly to allow for the development of what is planned to become a mixed-income housing development with a majority of the units being set aside for families that make 50-100% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

For the entire state of Florida, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines the AMI to be $85,500 and Orange County slightly higher at $85,700. That means that a family of four would make between $43,900 and $85,700 to qualify for affordable housing. A single person would need to make a minimum of $30,750 to qualify for Disney World’s affordable housing project. The total qualifying income range across family types will be from $30,750 to $115,000.

Latest concept art for Disney’s affordable housing project (February 2024)

In total, plans call for 1,410 units in the development, with 1,000 units dedicated to the affordable housing project. Of those 1,000 units, the majority will be dedicated to families in the 80% AMI range, which could be a household income of $49,150 up to nearly $90,000. Only 11% of the housing affordable housing units would be allocated for families at the lowest allowable AMI range.

While Cast Members would certainly be allowed to apply for housing, it will not be Cast Member-exclusive housing.

During the recent meeting, Orange County officials said that they have received 104 responses that were against the project, and 17 responses in support of the project following a September 2023 meeting. During the September 2023 meeting, the majority of the 70 residents in attendance were against the project.

Location of affordable housing near Hartzog Rd. and Avalon Rd.

Disney officials at the meeting said that Disney was inspired by a 2019 “Housing for All” task force launched by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. Officials said that Disney was an active participant in the task force.

Disney says that the development will be unique because it will not seek government funding and that The Michaels Organization will not accept county fee waivers typically afforded to similar developments. Disney says that it will not own, operate, or profit from the affordable housing development. Disney will set forth a 75-year lease on the land at no cost or profit to ensure that it is used for affordable housing for decades to come.

An official from The Michaels Organization was also present at the meeting. The Michaels Organization manages nearly 600 communities across the country, and more than 70,000 units. Seen below in better detail, the community will feature two entrances along Hartzog Road and one on Avalon Road. It will have two amenity buildings and open spaces totaling more than 20 acres. If approved, the project is anticipated to begin construction this fall, open the first units in 2026, and take around 5 years to be fully built out.

Within the community, there will be many small and medium-sized parks for residents to enjoy, and a large north-to-south oriented green space where food trucks, festivals, and art events can be held.

There will be multiple building concepts and designs. As far as living spaces, there will be everything from junior 1-bedroom spaces up to 4-bedroom offerings mixed across housing types such as apartments, flats, and townhome-style layouts. More than 80% of the units will be will be 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments. The junior 1-bedroom suite is proposed to be 576 sqft, and the largest 4-bedroom/3-bath unit would be about 1,900 sqft.

Here’s a look at some concept art released during the meeting of the two amenity centers.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, multiple local residents spoke out against the project. Concerns raised by the residents included increased traffic, higher density, school overcrowding, cell service coverage, and increased crime. Many of the residents noted that they were not against the idea of affordable housing in general, just that they didn’t want it in the Horizon West proposed location.

The representative for the district that this proposed development resides in said that he received an “overwhelming” number of emails from residents.

A representative from The Michaels Organization said that they would take another look at the number of units that they have planned for the development following density concerns.

Disney said that they would commit to another community open house before the next scheduled government meeting. Following Disney’s commitment to another community open house, the Board voted 4-3 to transmit the application to the next stage.

There is another transmittal public hearing tentatively scheduled for March 26th in front of the Board of County Commissioners. If approved, the project would be transmitted to the state for comments sometime in April 2024 before coming back to the county for two meetings seeking final approval. There are no dates for the final two meetings.

As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

The post Disney’s Affordable Housing Project Narrowly Passes Vote Despite Strong Resident Opposition (NEW Details, Income Range, Concept Art) appeared first on BlogMickey.com – Disney World News, Photos, and Info.