Developer sues City of Apopka to build affordable housing in planned city center

A housing developer is suing the City of Apopka for declining a permit to build affordable housing in the sprawling town's planned city center.

Wendover Housing Partners sued the city after the local council and mayor struck down the permit for a 195-unit affordable apartment building on the site. City leaders shared, in pretty clear language, that they don't want poor people being drawn to the area. The group behind the project that has been in the works for more than a decade sued under the Florida Fair Housing Act.

During the meeting in May, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson said that they hoped the site would be used for luxury apartments.

"We’re looking for people that can walk to our downtown and get a cup of coffee, and they don’t mind spending $4 or $5 or buy a beer after work or whatever," Nelson said.

Nelson told WFTV that the planned city center is the only part of Apopka that forbids subsidized multi-family housing. Wendover has already received millions of dollars in government grants — more than $8 million from the state and $2 million from Orange County — to build affordable housing on the site.

They noted in the suit that the city had previously approved their plans that including housing for workers and lower-income families. The developer is asking the court to strike down the language forbidding affordable housing in the area, so that they may continue to build.

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