Brooksville City Council members voted 4-1 to deny a $20,000 loan to National Community Renaissance for the development of Hibiscus Pointe, a low-income housing project proposed for the east end of Candlelight Boulevard. Council Member David Bell was the dissenting vote.
That vote was on July 17th. Members of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved the $20,000 loan on July 25, 2023. The loan to National Community Renaissance (National) is a preliminary step in the development process. Oscar Paul, a representative of National, explained that a loan is a Local Government Contribution (LGC) and is part of the criteria considered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation when qualifying applicants. The LGC carries a lot of weight, as Paul stated. “Essentially, if I don’t have (local government support), then my deal is not competitive.”
Paul told City Council that the loan is ultimately not necessary and that the term of the loan “could be shortened to a day.”
The 6-acre property is located between the Candlelight Apartments and The Julep apartment complex on the south side of Candlelight Boulevard. The plan for the complex is an array of 3-story buildings consisting of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments. A 5000-square-foot space is planned for community use, including a bocce ball court, a community garden, and an onsite management building.
City Manager Ron Snowberger reported that a previous council had already approved the 86 units, and rezoning is not required. However, the development may be hindered by Ordinance No. 966, which imposes a moratorium on new development within the city limits. The City will hear about the development plans in an August meeting, which will determine if the moratorium will apply.
Rent prices are determined by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation guidelines, serving those with incomes between 30 percent and 50 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI), depending on household size. Commissioner Brian Hawkins had some concerns about the rental calculations, as the maximum annual salary is based on a regional Tampa Bay AMI rather than Hernando County’s AMI.
While the rental prices are listed as low as $456 for a single person, The complex could also be attractive to new professionals and first responders. A single person with a salary of $48,720 would pay $1305 in rent under current pricing.
No one spoke during the Citizens’ Comments segment at either meeting.