“If you go to these meetings, the first response you get is, ‘We don’t want those people,’” Mr. De Yurre said. “These are the same people that are teachers in our communities, service and hospitality folks.”
The law is hardly a cure-all. Under its terms, at least 40 percent of the housing units in a proposed project must be set aside for people making up to 120 percent of the local median household income. In Miami-Dade County, 120 percent of the median is currently around $90,000 a year. But Dr. Murray said that most of the county’s service sector workers earned less than $20 an hour.
“When you do that math, we’re looking at renters that earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year,” he said, adding that the law is “not addressing that real need.”
Residents and local officials see a different problem: that the law makes it impossible for cities and towns to block out-of-scale projects that would worsen traffic and overwhelm public services. The backlash has been such that state lawmakers are considering amendments to the law intended to address some of the concerns.
“We are very sensitive to climate change and sea rise and the impact on infrastructure, which we deal with every day here,” Mayor Jeffrey P. Freimark of Bal Harbour said. “As a barrier island, adding this type of load to it is, I would argue, unconscionable.”