New rules for Osceola Co. motels, hotels converted to affordable housing


As motels and hotels convert to affordable housing, Osceola County Commissioners have approved a new ordinance to help protect residents, as well as the tourist district.

What was once a former motel room is now a stunning but small studio in Maingate Village for $ 975 per month.

“Maingate was once the Red Lion Motel.”

Customer service liaison Paul Carter says the Red Lion Motel was built in 1974, but after a multi-million dollar renovation, it now houses more than 300 full-time tenants.

“For people on fixed incomes, I think this is a great idea.”

“The move goes 4-1.”

Osceola County Commissioners have approved an ordinance that would allow motels and hotels to be converted to affordable multi-family residential use along certain areas of US 192.

Osceola Commissioner Viviana Janer said: “We have tried to make every effort to see how we can create affordable housing.”

Motels and hotels need upgrading, so rooms have full kitchens with individual electric and water meters.

A minimum of 20% of the property must be designated as open green space and building facades and landscaping must also be compliant.

Paul says, “Especially for people in the hospitality industry and people who work for Disney, there is a great need for this kind of concept.”

“I am a musician,” said Fito Espinola.

Espinola says he would normally look to rent a room in a house, but prefers to live here because of all the amenities like a pool and gym.

He rented a room with his girlfriend.

“This place is really great to live here.”

Commissioners say the new rules will help keep residents safe and also maintain the tourist district.

Paul said, “There is a great need for this stuff.

The commissioners also hope to approve grants to help residents pay rent and utilities to help offset the cost of renovations.


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