SARASOTA-  Sarasota County is taking steps to encourage the development of more affordable housing; Commissioners approved an ordinance that will allow developers to build smaller multi-family housing units.

“A way to encourage another type of housing unit in our community,” Sarasota County Manager of Long Range Planning Jane Grogg said.  “A smaller sized unit that may be more appealing to single professionals, or couples.”

Units no larger than 750 square feet would count as a “half-dwelling” for density purposes.

“It could be a one bedroom,” Grogg said. “It could be a studio or efficiency apartment, it could be a condo or an apartment either one is applicable in this situation.”

Smaller-units could also help people cut back on utility costs like water and electricity.

“It also will be located near services and schools and work along major thoroughfares,” Grogg said. “So it could potentially cut down on other costs in the household like transportation costs.”

Sarasota County Manager of Long Range Planning Jane Grogg says offering smaller units could also help developers save on impact fees.

“Our mobility fees were adjusted last April,” Grogg said. “So that smaller sized units would not pay as much as a larger unit.”

No subsidies will be available for building smaller units, but they hope developers will want to offer more units.

“They can make the bottom line work for their project,” Grogg said. “While also offering another housing type for our community.”

Sarasota County says none of these smaller units are currently in development, but developers have expressed interest.