NOTICE OF COMMENTS RECEIVED ON REVIEW OF ELIGIBLE AREA MAPS FOR USDA RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS IN FLORIDA

USDA Rural Development has received and reviewed comments on areas being reviewed for continued eligibility under the USDA Rural Housing programs. During the review, all comments were considered.

Below is a summary of the comments received for the rural area review in the state of Florida.

Highlands County

1) Sebring - Received 1 comment indicating decrease in population since the 2010 census. County jail has 371 inmates bringing Sebring total population down to 10,000. MHI lower than neighboring counties, 12.98% of workforce in Highlands County and 5.3% in Sebring employed in Farming, Fishing and Forestry occupations, 74% of Highlands County total acreage zoned agricultural.

Hillsborough County

2) Ruskin - Received 1 comment indicating Ruskin has 26 major business related to farming – production, packaging, sales and/or distribution; 7.85% of the workforce employed in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting; agricultural education in Lennard High School and at Hillsborough Community College; 14.2% of families below poverty level

Lake County

3) Eustis – Received 1 comment indicating 25.9% of residents below poverty level; rising housing costs is making homeownership very difficult for very low and low income applicants. Declaring Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares ineligible would cause 9,300 individuals to lose access to housing counseling services and, subsequently, affordable home ownership.

4) Mount Dora - Received 1 comment indicating 14.6% of residents below poverty level; rising housing costs is making homeownership very difficult for very low and low income applicants. Declaring Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares ineligible would cause 9,300 individuals to lose access to housing counseling services and, subsequently, affordable home ownership.

5) Tavares - Received 1 comment indicating 15.2% of residents below poverty level; rising housing costs is making homeownership very difficult for very low and low income applicants. Declaring Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares ineligible would cause 9,300 individuals to lose access to housing counseling services and, subsequently, affordable home ownership.

Pasco County

6) Land O’Lakes - received 1 comment indicating Land O’ Lakes has been declared a medically underserved area; 24.5% reduction in median value of owner-occupied housing

 

units from 2010 to 2015; 35.8% of Pasco County is farmland; 14.1% increase in total farm acreage in Pasco County from 2007 to 2012.

7) Zephyrhills – received 1 comment indicating Zephyrhills has been declared a medically underserved area; MHI lower than MHI for Pasco County; 2.6% of the workforce employed in Farming, Fishing, Forestry and Mining; 35.8% of Pasco County is farmland; 14.1% increase in total farm acreage in Pasco County from 2007 to 2012.

Based on the review of the areas within the state of Florida, using the 2015 American Community Survey data, comments received, and rural area guidance located in Handbook HB-1-3550, Chapter 5, the rural eligibility designation is proposed to change for the following areas:

1) Currently Ineligible Cities/Places with Population over 35,000 - Areas annexed to the city will become ineligible. Contiguous densely populated and areas surrounded by ineligible areas will also become ineligible.

• Gainesville, Ocala, Titusville, Palm Coast, Plant City, Bradenton, Apopka, Ocoee, St. Cloud, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Winter Haven, North Port, Oviedo, Sanford, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, The Villages, Daytona Beach, Deltona, Port Orange

2) Currently Ineligible that have Expanded City Limits: Contiguous densely populated areas and areas surrounded by ineligible areas will become ineligible.

 Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Estero, Lake Butler, Horizon West, Belle Glade, Deland, Edgewater

3) Currently Eligible but Population has Increased to Over 35,000 – City limits will become ineligible. Contiguous densely populated and areas surrounded by ineligible areas will also become ineligible.

 Winter Garden

4) Currently Eligible Cities/Places Contiguous to Ineligible Areas - City limits and contiguous densely populated will become ineligible.

 Gonzalez, Panama City Beach and contiguous Laguna Beach

5) Currently Eligible Cities and Parts of Cities that have a population density of 1,000 people per square mile, located in a MSA, and have a population greater than 10,000. Contiguous densely populated areas will also become ineligible.

 Lynn Haven, Callaway, Port St. John, Punta Gorda, Naples, Golden Gate, Marco Island, Fish Hawk, Sun City Center, Sebastian, Lady Lake (north portion), Eustis, Tavares, Mount Dora, Clermont, San Carlos Park, Palmetto, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Niceville, Destin, Land O’Lakes, Trinity, Midway, Navarre, Winter Springs, Palm Valley, Fruit Cove, Lakewood Park, Orange City

Miami-Dade County – The entire county will become ineligible

To see a listing of proposed areas to become ineligible, click here:

https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/List-of-Florida-Areas-proposed-to-become-i...

Areas that will now be considered as no longer being rural or rural in character can be viewed at https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do by clicking on either "Single Family Housing Guaranteed", "Single Family Housing Direct" or Multi-Family Housing" and then selecting "Proposed Ineligible Areas" tab.

The proposed changes will become effective on June 4, 2018. For details or questions about specific changes, please contact the Florida Rural Development Housing Program Staff via email at RD.FL.Origination@fl.usda.gov or mail to USDA Rural Development, SFH Program, 4440 NW 25th Pl, Suite 200, Gainesville, FL 32606-6563.

Florida, March 19, 2018