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Hundreds of new homes are being developed in Fallschase, yet none will be deemed affordable

Construction site for houses being built in Fallschase
Craig Moore
WFSU Public Media
Construction site for houses being built in Fallschase

Nearly 670 housing units are currently in development in the Fallschase neighborhood in Northeast Tallahassee.

The homes are being built directly behind the commercial area home to Costco, Bass Pro Shops, and CMX Cinemas. The plans include 321 single-family homes, 60 townhomes, and an apartment complex with 288 units. The homes are being developed by RMDC, Inc., a real estate development company in Tallahassee.

Although the development is under Leon County’s jurisdiction and was initially approved by the county, part of the property is now within Tallahassee city limits. The developer’s request to the city to annex part of the property was approved in 2020. Since the development was approved before the annexation, city officials say the development won’t trigger the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing policy. That means the developers will not be required to set aside 10% of the homes for households that earn below the area median income.

Leon County has a voluntary inclusionary housing policy, but it has never been used by developers. During a recent joint workshop, city and county commissioners agreed to develop a uniform policy.

During that workshop, Abena Ojetayo and Shington Lamy presented an update to the commissions on the status of affordable housing in the area. Lamy, the Director of the Office of Human Services & Community Partnerships, noted that the city’s policy has only been implemented once since its inception. Right now, the city requires projects of 50 or more housing units to set aside 10% of homes for affordable housing.

According to the federal government, housing is considered affordable if a household spends 30% or less of its income on rent or a mortgage. That exact price varies by city.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition publishes an annual report on housing costs. In 2021, the latest report available, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Leon County was nearly $1,300 while an apartment that fits the federal government's definition of affordable should cost around $600.

The Fallschase development, owned by RMDC, Inc. will use Premier Fine Homes and Tallahassee Homes Realty as builders. Premiere lists most of its homes for more than $350,000. The lowest-priced home on Tallahassee Homes Realty's website is $449,000.

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Brett Rutherford is a reporter and news researcher at WFSU Pubic Media. From Riverview, Florida, he has earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State University. During his time at Florida State, he was a reporter within the sports department at WVFS, the student-run on-campus radio station. In 2020, he served as Sports Director during his senior year and hosted the weekly talk show Tomahawk Talk.

Email Brett: brutherford2@fsu.edu