Target: Increase residential density within City limits.
Current Performance: See below for more information.
A challenge faced by many growing communities, like Tallahassee, is the tendency for sprawl to occur as a result of continuous suburban development. Low-density zoning requires fewer units per acre. This type of zoning increases the market price per residence, has higher infrastructure costs, and increases traffic due to low walkability. In contrast, development costs per unit in high-density zones are much lower. Increasing residential density in the urban service area has many benefits that can alleviate underlying conditions of poverty. These benefits include increased walkability and decreased traffic congestion; increased housing options and affordability; improved efficiency and fiscal health of public transit networks; decreased public infrastructure costs; protection of the environment; and improved public safety.
The City plays a key role in achieving higher densities as it oversees the implementation of the City’s Zoning Code for the permitting of new development. One of the key tools in the Zoning Code that supports higher densities is an area is called the Multi-Modal Transportation District (MMTD), an 18-square mile area that has increased pedestrian, bike and transit infrastructure. By incentivizing higher-density development, the City of Tallahassee can revitalize downtown as a place to live and not just work during the daylight hours.
The City cannot increase residential density by itself. However, it can create the conditions which will make the development of multi-family residences easier and more attractive. The City also implements design standards for higher density projects so that they become a complementary part of the neighborhood. The overall goal is to promote development that offers affordable living while protecting the community’s character.
In FY2022, the City issued building permits for 608 multi-family residential units. In total, the City has increased the number of affordable housing units in the pipeline to 2,391, a number greater than the last 25 years combined.
Growth Management, and Housing & Community Resilience. Last Updated: December 2022.