Washington, D.C.’s Campaign for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning
By Cheryl Cort, Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth
Presented at 2007 National Inclusionary Housing Conference
San Francisco, October 30, 2007
D.C.’s Campaign for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning is a broad coalition of traditional affordable housing allies along with progressive labor, religious and community-based groups. Over three years, the Campaign worked to achieve an inclusionary zoning policy which was adopted by the D.C. Zoning Commission (the body vested with land use authority in the District of Columbia). In December 2006, the D.C. City Council adopted the necessary legislation to implement the Zoning Commission’s polices, and appropriated money for staffing, but the new Mayor Fenty Administration has yet to issue draft regulations.
The challenges of keeping a campaign together over three years were overcome by the deep commitment that so many groups have to creating new affordable housing tool that ensures mixed income communities into the future. The diversity of organizations, including housing, labor and allied groups helped to overcome initial resistance from then-Mayor Anthony Williams’ Administration and maintain momentum through the many step process to adopt the policy. The campaign developed policy, financial, and legal analysis along with media, public outreach and grassroots mobilization to win support from the Zoning Commission and the D.C. City Council.
Economic Context for Inclusionary Zoning
· 1996: no new housing permits were issued, population still declining
· 2006: nearly 9000 units under construction, population growing after three decades of decline
· D.C. housing values and rate of increase rose to among highest in region; condo conversions accelerated and affordable rental units dropped precipitously
· Public Funds – 2002 Housing Act–dedicated funds to Housing Production Trust Fund
· Public Lands – 2004 Anacostia Waterfront Corporation – 30% affordable housing set aside (half at 30% AMI, half at 60% AMI);“Mixed Income”bill to require affordable units in any residential development on public land, current practice allocates 20% of housing for low and moderate income households for public lands projects.
· Private Lands – 2003-2008? Inclusionary Zoning policy adopted by Zoning Commission in 2006
· Comprehensive Housing Strategy 2006 – 55,000 new units / 19,000 new affordable / 30,000 affordable units preserved
· Technical know how: policy, legal, financial
· Grassroots mobilization
· Media and public outreach
· Housing Act 2002–D.C. Affordable Housing Alliance emerges, asks for inclusionary zoning.
· D.C. Office of Planning task force examines voluntary inclusionary housing, 2003
· Campaign for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (CMIZ), formed summer 2003
o D.C. Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA)
o Washington Labor Council, AFL-CIO
o Center for Community Change
o Coalition for Smarter Growth (formerly Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities)
o Jews United for Justice
o Latino Economic Development Corporation
o + more than 50 groups
· CMIZ decides on Zoning Amendment–proposed fall 2004
· Inclusionary Zoning adopted, 2006
· Implementation stalled–should have started October 1, 2007
Summary of Adopted D.C. Inclusionary Zoning Policy, 2006/07
Project Threshold Size Over 10 units of new construction; rehabilitation projects adding 50% more and 10 units or more
Properties Covered Most multifamily, R-2 residential and commercial areas covered through overlay; Planned Unit Developments and most Historic Districts in mapped areas covered
Affordable set asides Steel and Concrete: the greater of 8% by right or 50% of achievable bonus density;
Stick Built: the greater of 10% by right or 75% achievable bonus
Density bonus 20%
Eligible Incomes High rise in mixed-use commercial zones: all at 80% AMI All other types: half at 50% / 80% AMI
Development Standards Minimum size to be specified in regulations; comparable interior amenities but less expensive materials
Control Period Life of building for both rental and ownership–unit to be sold or rented to another income qualified household.
Relief Limited to economic hardship
Public Purchase Option 25% to the city, D.C. Housing Authority & non-profit housing providers