Keystone 'Live Local' affordable housing project shot down by Hillsborough County leaders

Plans for a four-story affordable housing apartment building with more than 330 units at Van Dyke and Tobacco Road in Keystone have been shot down after community outrage led to an about-face from Hillsborough County commissioners.

"The Live Local Act was well intended, but poorly executed with many unintended consequences. It's untested," said Commissioner Ken Hagan at Tuesday’s meeting. "I know in Keystone this is a major concern. I’ve received 150 emails in opposition to the apartment complex on Van Dyke Road."

Commissioner Hagan issued a moratorium on all Live Local proposals in Hillsborough -- specifically those that involve PDs, or planned developments, which make up most Live Local projects in the county.

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It’s a huge move against the law, which Gov. Ron DeSantis hoped would support working and military families in the state. The Hillsborough moratorium is a win for many Keystone residents who were concerned overcrowding would be a huge issue, most obviously affecting their schools.

"It would have had a terrible impact. With 330 units and an average of two kids per family, do the math. That’s possibly over 600 new children through our schools and we are having enough trouble as it is being able to maintain teachers," said Karen Potter, Hammond Elementary teacher.

This swift action in Keystone could be seen in counties across the state as more ‘Live Local Act’ applications are met with opposition from community members.

"I’m so happy that my little community stuck together, but it goes to show you that we were protecting this area, and the traffic and the safety of our kids," said Potter.

This stop-gap measure implemented Tuesday will freeze most live local applications until September, when the county commission will vote to amend their land development code to stop most of these live local projects permanently in overwhelmed communities.

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