What is “inclusionary zoning” and why should Downtown Miami care?
- Inclusionary zoning is a policy that was first developed in the 1970s in response to exclusionary and often racially segregated “snob zoning.”
- It’s a popular tool for getting the private market to subsidize affordable housing.
- But critics, namely developers and some economists, say the policy reduces the overall supply of housing, thus raising prices.
- Other anti-poverty critics say it’s a Band-Aid that doesn’t adequately address the housing needs of low-income people.
… inclusionary zoning (also sometimes called “inclusionary housing”), is an increasingly popular way to produce affordable housing through the private market. And while these programs only produce enough units for a lucky few low- and moderate-income households, they remain one of the main tools cities have for maintaining neighborhood diversity, and keeping high-opportunity areas affordable.
On Thursday, the city commission approved, by a 4-0 vote, a preliminary measure to mandate affordable and workforce housing using inclusionary zoning.
The zoning will apply only in a limited area that sits east of Overtown and west of Northeast Second Avenue and the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, within the Omni community redevelopment district.
According to the Miami Herald, the City of Miami Commission proposal, sponsored by District Two Commissioner Ken Russell, has attracted unusually positive developer support due to the “two-step approach” which will allow “developers more buildable density to offset the lower revenue they will generate from setting aside specific percentages of units for strictly defined affordable and workforce housing.”
The commissioners also passed a companion resolution instructing city administrators “to develop a housing income chart for the city that would more accurately reflect what its residents can afford”. The ordinance for Inclusionary Zoning, called T624B, will have a second reading on December 13th at Miami City Hall.