Osceola County changes rules for hotels and motels used as low-income housing – WFTV

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — New rules are coming for hotel and motel owners in Osceola County.

On Monday, leaders approved a new order creating stricter guidelines for motels and hotels converted to low-income housing.


Officials said the aim was to improve the quality of life for people staying there.

“We want to have a good balance in our corridor,” said commissioner Peggy Choudry. “We also want to make sure that the improvements we make add value to the property.”

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Choudhry said creating standards for motels converted to low-cost apartments will help both the people who live there and the county as a whole.

That’s why she’s one of four commissioners who pushed for new rules, including adding school bus stops near the right-of-way and banning conversions between Vineland Road and State Road 429. .

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For motels in Corridor 192, such as Magic Castle Inn, will also require recreation space and at least 75% retail or restaurant space on the ground floor.

Debbie Buxton and David Safarti, who run Magic Castle Inn, said many of their customers are low-wage workers and families who can’t stay in many other places. Safarti says the new rules will make it harder to keep prices as low as they are and that could force those people out.

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Now the board is looking at ways to work with owners on possible grants to offset costs and team up with nonprofits to help those struggling.

Commissioner Ricky Booth said it was the price to pay to improve all of Osceola County.

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“It’s the only way to get more affordable housing,” Booth said. “To have an improved corridor, better paying jobs and high-end development.”

The council also said it would try to work with landlords, such as making exceptions on retail or leisure space if they didn’t have room for it, but that will be done on a case-by-case basis. per case.

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