Microblog #36: Inclusionary woes

Many Cities Find Inclusionary Zoning an Enticing Solution. But What About the Places it Fails?

There are hundreds of inclusionary zoning programs across the country that, in many different ways, mandate or incentivize the inclusion of affordable units in new development. But as Joe Cortright notes in a recent City Observatory piece, the mere existence of these programs does not imply they’re successful — let alone worthy of duplication.

In fact, the new inclusionary zoning requirement in Portland, Oregon appears to have had a chilling effect on new apartment construction in 2018 thus far. Constricted supply could easily raise rents, leading to the exact opposite outcome proponents of the policy were hoping to achieve.

Closer to home, however, inclusionary zoning programs in Fairfax County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland have successfully produced thousands of affordable units. Why the difference? There’s no magic answer, but policymakers should avoid a “one size fits all solution,” and instead work with a wide range of stakeholders to design a program tailored for local markets.

Want to learn more about developing a results-oriented inclusionary zoning program in Virginia? Check out Housing Virginia’s Practitioner’s Guide to Inclusionary Housing. (PDF)

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