Orange County Commission debates center on growth versus affordability | Florida Dispensaries

Orange County Commission debates center on growth versus affordability

Orange County’s continuing massive population growth and growing gap between housing prices and wages had candidates in three County Commission elections debating ways Wednesday to balance growth and affordability.

The widest-ranging debate took place Wednesday at a Tiger Bay of Central Florida forum featuring five of seven candidates in the county’s District 6 election, which has no incumbent because Commissioner Victoria Siplin is term-limited.

In that district, which covers a largely African-American, modest-income population in west-central Orange, the forum featured Lawanna Gelzer, Roberta Walter Johnson, Nikki Mims McGeeHedder Pierre-Joseph, and Mike Scott exploring a wide range of possible solutions to the county’s affordable housing crunch.

Gelzer, a longtime community activist and business owner, pressed hard on two points: that development needs to consider environmental impact, and that Orange County needs to rethink what could be possible outside of traditions, and then rewrite regulations to make it possible, such as to encourage widespread development of tiny houses.

“We have to look at what our policies are saying,” Gelzer said. “There are a lot of people looking at other ways to live in Orlando, to prosper in Orlando. So we need to make that change. If there is a policy forbidding it, let’s change

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