City Council Lauded for Action on Affordable Housing Law

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2008
Cheryl Cort, Coalition for Smarter Growth 202-244-4408 ext. 112
Mackenzie Baris, Jobs with Justice, 202-974-8224


In wake of delays by the Fenty Administration, City Council reaffirms commitment to Inclusionary Zoning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 8, the D.C. City Council voted overwhelmingly to sponsor legislation implementing its Inclusionary Zoning affordable housing law. Championed by Councilmembers Jim Graham and Chairman Vincent Gray, the bill fully reflects the position of the Campaign for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, which has repeatedly requested implementation by the Mayor’s office since original enabling legislation was approved in December 2006.

“Affordable housing remains a high priority for the residents of the District of Columbia,” said Chairman Gray. “Inclusionary Zoning is one of the many important tools this Council has supported to achieve it. It is time to move forward on this law.”

Added Councilmember Graham, “The longer we delay in implementing this law, the more opportunities we lose.”

In addition to Chairman Gray and Councilmember Graham, the bill’s co-introducers included Councilmembers Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, Muriel Bowser, Kwame Brown, Mary Cheh, Phil Mendelson, Carol Schwartz, Harry Thomas Jr., and Tommy Wells. The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole.

“We applaud the City Council for its leadership in affirming the critical importance of implementing Inclusionary Zoning immediately,” said Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “Residents across the District do not have the luxury of waiting while opportunities to create more affordable housing pass by.”

Known as “IZ,” Inclusionary Zoning has long been sought as a tool to help address the significant need for affordable housing in the District of Columbia. Having garnered overwhelming support from the D.C. Zoning Commission, the City Council unanimously endorsed IZ in December 2006, and directed the Mayor’s office to produce implementing regulations to administer the program.

However, the Mayor’s administration still had not moved to implement the law. Yesterday, the Council took the first step toward implementing the law under its own power.

Inclusionary zoning is a national best practice that requires all new developments of 10 units or more to set aside 8-10% of the housing units as affordable to low and moderate-income residents. This approach allows private housing developers to help address a locality’s increasing affordable housing demand at virtually no additional cost to the city. IZ is incorporated into the District’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan.