The City of Palm Bay to host HUBZone Webinar in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration
The Melbourne City Council has approved a conceptual plan to make changes to city code that will help reduce costs and provide additional incentives to encourage more affordable housing development in the City of Melbourne.
The City of Melbourne currently has many incentives in city code to encourage affordable housing, such as the deferral of impact fees for the development of affordable housing units dependent upon the household income level. However, the need for affordable housing units is great, and Council has set a goal to increase the supply of affordable housing as part of a greater plan to reduce homelessness in the City of Melbourne.
The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and City staff recently completed a thorough review of the city’s current affordable housing incentives to determine what was working well and what could be improved. This study led to the following proposed changes to city code that were presented to Council at the September 29, 2021, meeting:
- Allow a carport in lieu of an enclosed garage for single-family units.
- Reduce required parking for one-bedroom multifamily units to one parking space.
- Allow all multifamily residential parking spaces to be 10 feet in width.
- Allow a decrease in the minimum living area for single-family units from 1,000 square feet to:
o 550 square feet for a one-bedroom unit,
o 650 square feet for a two-bedroom unit,
o 800 square feet for a three-bedroom unit, and
o an additional 100 square feet for any additional bedrooms.
- Allow accessory dwelling units on lots greater than 14,520 square feet instead of the current one-acre (43,560 square feet) requirement.
- Reduce building setbacks for multifamily structures over one story in height.
- Reduce the buffer area requirement for multifamily development from 50 feet to 30 feet and allow an opaque fence instead of a masonry wall when abutting single-family units.
- Allow single-family infill lots to utilize the affordable housing development standards.
- Allow residential development within a C-1 zoning district without requiring a conditional use.
- Remove required thresholds for a minimum number of units in each income level to allow a development to be directed at one or multiple income level thresholds. (City Code currently requires 30% to 40% of the units from all three income categories.)
- Allow a streamlined occupancy timeline for affordable units: 50% completion of affordable units when the overall development is 50% complete and then 100% completion of affordable units when the development is 100% complete.
- Provide a minimum affordability timeframe of 20 years for the use of the development standards and to be incorporated into the Land Use Restriction Agreement.
Council gave conceptual approval of these changes and directed staff to return with an ordinance for future City Council review. The plan also calls for an allowance for a density bonus for the development of affordable housing units that will need to go to the Department of Economic Opportunity for review before it can be incorporated into city code.
For more information:
- Watch the presentation by Community Development Director Cindy Dittmer and City Council’s discussion during the September, 29, 2021, City Council meeting.
- Read the agenda memo from the September 29, 2021, City Council meeting.
- Call Community Development — 321-608-7500 — if you have questions about developing affordable housing in the City of Melbourne.
City of Melbourne Awarded State Grant to Fund Innovative Downtown Stormwater Treatment Project
he City of Melbourne has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program to fund a new stormwater treatment project that will transform existing landscaped features in Downtown Melbourne to planted landscaped boxes that can capture and clean polluted stormwater. In addition to keeping polluted stormwater out of the Indian River Lagoon, the project will help alleviate standing water that remains in the curbs after heavy rains.
The new treatment boxes will be installed within existing landscaped islands on the corner of New Haven Avenue and Municipal Lane and on the corner of New Haven Avenue and Vernon Place. Stormwater will be diverted into the boxes from the curb and filtered through layers of vegetation and treatment media.
The project will include use of two types of media, including a new media not previously used in the state of Florida. After the project is constructed, a team from the University of Florida will study and monitor the effectiveness of the different types of treatment media used. Results may help determine which type of media is most effective in removing pollutants, such as excess hydrocarbons, that are a particular problem in urban commercial areas like Downtown Melbourne. Lessons learned could help inform future projects in similar areas statewide.
The $200,000 grant will be used to construct the boxes. The City will contribute $25,000 for design and surveying services. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2022.
The City of Melbourne is offering $50 rebates to homeowners who install the following water-saving features in their homes:
Residential water customers who reside within the city limits of Melbourne are eligible to participate in the city’s rain barrel rebate program. Qualifying customers will receive one $50 rebate for installing a new 40-gallon or larger rain barrel. A rain barrel can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months. Rain barrels also help protect the Indian River Lagoon by reducing the amount of rainwater entering the stormwater system. More information about the Rain Barrel Rebate program is available on the city’s website.
All City of Melbourne residential water customers who get their water bill directly from the city can receive a $50 rebate for replacing a toilet that was installed before 1994 with a new WaterSense certified high-efficiency toilet (flush rate of 1.28 gallons or less). A family of four replacing a toilet from the 1980s could expect to save approximately 25,000 gallons of water per year by installing a new WaterSense toilet.
Residential customers who live within the city limits of Melbourne can receive up to a $50 rebate for purchasing and installing a composter that has at least a 30-gallon capacity. Adding compost to your landscaping creates healthier soil that retains water and nutrients better and reduces the need for increased lawn irrigation and the use of fertilizers that can wash into stormdrains and pollute the Indian River Lagoon. More information about composting and the Composter Rebate Program is available on the City of Melbourne website.
How to Apply for a Rebate
Rebate application packets are available by calling the Environmental Community Outreach (ECO) Division at 321-608-5080 or e-mailing email@example.com. Rebates will be available until budgeted rebate funds are depleted or until September 30, 2022, whichever comes first. Only one rebate will be provided per account and/or per address with the same resident throughout the duration of the City’s rebate programs.
Palm Bay Live was made aware of an incident this morning at Palm Bay City Hall. Upon inquiry the Public Information Officer issued this statement.
“We have been made aware of a threatening call that was made to an employee at our main City Hall complex. The Palm Bay Police Department is investigating the situation and is currently with the resident at his home. PD will remain with the resident to determine the proper next steps in resolving the situation. At this time, we do not believe that there is an ongoing threat to City Hall or our employees. The Police Chief and City Manager’s Office will continue to monitor the situation and coordinate ongoing efforts throughout the day today.”
West Melbourne-When you turn off your car, it can easily take only 10 minutes for the inside of your vehicle to raise by 20 degrees. On Friday, August 13th West Melbourne Police responded to the Walmart on Palm Bay Road due to a two month old puppy which was left in a hot vehicle and in distress. When the officer arrived on scene he discovered the puppy in the back seat weary and panting. The outside temperature was 92 degrees. The windows of the vehicle were cracked open but not enough for this helpless puppy to maintain a safe temperature. The officer was able to reach his hand through the window, unlock the door and remove the puppy who had been inside the vehicle for nearly 30 minutes. It would be another 5 minutes until the owner, Gary Cooper would walk out of the store where he was greeted by officers. Cooper was arrested and charged with Felony Animal Cruelty.
The puppy was turned over to Brevard County Animal Services, and Cooper was later released from the Brevard County Jail on a $5,000 bond. Dogs in hot cars can suffer from potentially fatal heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes. Dogs die in hot cars as they can overheat very quickly and struggle to cool themselves down, even when a window has been left open or water has been left in the car.