SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah City Council is looking ahead to 2027, creating the vision for its next five-year housing and community development plan.
On Thursday morning, city council set forth numerous goals for the next five years. Among them, to create or expand at least 75 small businesses, new job opportunities for low-income residents and develop 500 new dwellings for low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.
“We can’t solve all of the aims out there and accomplish everything,” said District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo. “But this is putting us on a pathway to an achievable goal of eradicating homelessness in our community not today or tomorrow but possibly within the next decade.”
Tackling affordable housing and homelessness remains a top priority for council members. The city estimates as many as 650 residents regularly experience homelessness.
The last five-year plan resulted in a 332% increase in affordable housing units. Looking ahead, council members say there is more work to be done.
“I am greatly concerned in that homeless mothers have children who are in our schools but they are also living in hotels and overcrowded conditions, on sofas,” said Alderwoman At-Large Kesha Gibson-Carter.
Meanwhile, the city council continues discussions about a potential impact fee to charge developers building new facilities.
Last year, the city hired a consulting firm to help develop an ordinance to impose the fee. If passed, the city could charge developers more than $5,000 for a new single-family home. But the council can choose to charge more or less than that, if certain facilities can be exempt or if they will even pass the ordinance.
Some council members are concerned it is an inequity issue, and the cost will trickle down to homeowners and residents.
“That’s a little frustrating to me because here we are as a council looking at ways that we can combat affordable housing,” said District 6 Alderman Kurtis Purtee. “And yet, we are putting forth another fee to our community. It just concerns me.”
City Manager Jay Melder said the goal of an impact fee is to support growth in new areas of the city. Council has not yet voted on the measure. Officials said that will likely come in November.