The proposed Avenir buyout will be a huge step back in the effort to provide workforce housing to ensure that those who work in Palm Beach Gardens, can live in Palm Beach Gardens, one of the most expensive cities in our county.

Once the commercial component in Avenir is completed, the shortage of affordable housing for those employees will reach crisis levels. Those having to drive to their jobs in Avenir will make an already difficult traffic situation much worse.

The $10 million proposed to be provided to the city by Avenir will provide only a small fraction of the 250 workforce housing units Avenir is now obligated to provide. Even worse, as I understand it, $5 million would be held in a city-created Workforce Housing Fund. That translates to a buyout fee of $20,000 per unit. Obviously, this amount will not come close to constructing an alternate unit at another location.

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By comparison, the county is contemplating amendments to its workforce housing program to increase the buyout fee to $120,000 per unit from $84,500. Delray Beach and Jupiter set their buyout fees at $160,000 and $200,000, respectively.

And the other $5 million, for recreational facilities, would do nothing for the severe workforce housing shortage.

Suzanne P. Cabrera, West Palm Beach

Editor's note: Cabrera is president and CEO of the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County.


Feeling safe with

Martin County justice

Recent articles reflect that "clients in Martin County spend twice as long behind bars for the same crimes" as in Palm Beach County. Perhaps criminals and criminals-to-be are coming to realize if they do the crime they'll do the time up here in Martin County.

Sheriff William Snyder, Public Defender Diamond Litty and State Attorney Bruce Colton are doing an excellent job of making Martin County safer for all of us. I found it amusing that Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout is lauded for filing motions for clients, getting bail and charges reduced and securing shorter sentences.

If Haughwout likes giving these criminals a slap on the hand and a slide back out to the streets in her county, have at it. I much prefer to live in Martin County, where I feel safe and where our law-enforcement officers and prosecutors and others take a stand against crime.

Jan Belwood, Palm City