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Vacancy in Ward Five’s Housing Advisory Board Filled With Recent Appointment

Justin Thibaut Ward Five.jpg
Justin Thibaut stands in front of Fort Myers council members to present the Affordable Housing Task Force’s ideas on September 7. There have been no solid decisions made at this time regarding the ideas, but they have been put into consideration.

Justin Thibaut, a local real estate company owner, has been appointed by the Fort Myers city council to the city’s housing board for Ward Five. Thibaut was recommended by Ward Five’s council member Fred Burson after Thibaut gave a presentation on affordable housing. The motion was carried without any audible dispute or disagreement on September 20.

“I think he’s an excellent candidate to represent Ward Five,” Burson proposed to the council.

There had been a vacancy previous to Thibaut’s appointment to the board, which consists of 11 members. These members serve three-year terms.

Thibaut is the president of LSI Companies, a commercial real estate firm, and he has ten years experience in the real estate business. “My education is rooted in construction and building,” Thibaut said in his application for appointment. “With emphasis on materials and methods, sustainability and alternative building practices.”

Before his presidency at LSI, Thibaut worked in the Nuclear Power and Petroleum Industries where he held positions in business management, project engineering and construction of major capital projects valued from $500 million to $1 billion, according to LSI.

Mayor Kevin Anderson recruited Thibaut, along with seven others, to come up with new ideas regarding the growing gap in affordable housing in the Fort Myers community, according to Thibaut.

“The Mayor recognized this as a problem,” Thibaut said. “He reached out to us and put it together.”

The Affordable Housing Task Force presented its ideas at an earlier council meeting, with three main ideas: funding sources, policy, and awareness.

One member, land developer Tyler Sharpe, has been working with Thibaut for the past eight months. Sharpe helped curate the list of suggestions for the council to review for possible long-term policies.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area has been categorized as one of the least-affordable regions for housing in this country, according to a 2021 Home Attainability study by the Urban Land Institute. Renters suffer the most with fewer than 15 affordable and available units per 100 households at a rate that would cost the renter no more than 30 percent of income.

“Since we’ve given our ideas,” Sharpe said., “What happens next is in the council’s hands.” Thibaut will be on the Fort Myers Housing Advisory Board effective September 20, 2021 to September 19, 2024.

This story was produced by Democracy Watch, a news service of Florida Gulf Coast University journalism students. The reporter can be reached at jdelestre8108@eagle.fgcu.edu.

Democracy Watch