Minneapolis leaders have embarked on a new chapter in their efforts to shift more responsibility to private developers to fill the city’s gap in affordable housing: deciding under what circumstances developers should be able to opt out of proposed zoning changes that would require them to set aside units for less-than-market-rate rents in all future projects.
Following failed attempts to mandate such requirements in the past, city staff and housing consultants this summer are researching alternative compliance options for real-estate developers under what is known as inclusionary zoning: rules that require housing firms to dedicate a percentage of big multifamily complexes to households that earn no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is a little less than $57,000 annually for a family of four.
Municipalities nationwide have established similar programs, aiming to spur a greater amount of mixed-income rental housing and to diversify popular residential neighborhoods. The latest effort in Minneapolis will build on an interim ordinance that went into effect this year that closely aligns with Minneapolis 2040, the city’s long-term plan for development.
Despite the look at possible compliance alternatives, the overall work on behalf of city staff and researchers is not moving as quickly as some supporters would like. City Council President Lisa Bender, who has championed inclusionary zoning at City Hall, has said she is frustrated by the slow pace of the work. Meanwhile, the effort faces intense pushback from private developers — who describe the idea as an inappropriate intervention in the private market that will stifle housing construction at a time the city needs it most.
Read entire article HERE.