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3/13/04 - Sun Sentinel

Ranches aims to switch lower price homes to Pembroke Park

By Milton D. Carrero Galarza

Hoping to keep out high-density housing while still meeting state requirements, Southwest Ranches officials will try to enter a $1.5 million agreement with Pembroke Park and transfer a portion of the town's mandatory affordable housing to the city.

Southwest Ranches, a rural town where some properties sell for more than $1 million, bans lots of less than an acre.

To comply with Florida law, it must provide 520 affordable housing units by the year 2025.

The town is willing to pay $50,000 over the next 30 years to make the agreement possible.

If accepted, Southwest Ranches would transfer 165 of its required low-income homes to Pembroke Park.

The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday night to begin negotiations with a developer and Pembroke Park.

"This is an opportunity to satisfy our obligation," said Town Administrator John Canada.

This is the town's second attempt to pay its way out of its affordable housing obligation.

Last year, the town turned to North Lauderdale, a city 10 miles away, and offered to pay $25,000-a-year to pick up 100 of its required affordable housing units.

The law allows for areas with high property values to enter agreements with nearby cities, but North Lauderdale was too far away for an acceptable agreement, said Ken Metcalf, of the state's department of community affairs, which must approve any such deal.

Pembroke Park is about 7 miles away, so distance is not an issue, but the town still must prove its property values qualify.

"That will be the easy part," Canada said.

Milton D. Carrero Galarza can be reached at or at 954-385-7912.