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An Introduction to Inclusionary Zoning Part 1

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Affordable housing is become more and more scarce in today’s housing market. Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is an important principle of affordable housing ordinances that help create affordable housing in areas where the market wouldn’t otherwise support it. Basically, before development begins, developers commit a certain percentage of housing units to low- or moderate-income residents. This fosters inclusion and helps create fairness in the housing market.

Although San Francisco and Washington D.C. have the most experience implementing IZ practices, Florida can enforce IZ if necessary to help offset the current housing crisis. At Cotney Construction Law, our Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers are knowledgeable about IZ requirements, how to follow the principles of IZ and how to use IZ to help spur your project’s development. In part one of this two-part series, we will examine the benefits of IZ and the different types of IZ.

Who Benefits from Inclusionary Zoning?

IZ is designed to provide affordable housing for those who need it, while offering developers incentives to encourage them to utilize IZ in their development plans. Some of the benefits for residents and developers are listed below:

  • Residents benefit from affordable housing in newly developed areas
  • Residents benefit from high-quality housing
  • Residents benefit from living in comparably safer areas with lower crime rates
  • Developers benefit from cost offsets such as density bonuses
  • Developers are incentivized to build more units than conventional zoning allows
  • Developers receive permits faster, allowing them to build more quickly

Types of Inclusionary Zoning Programs

Across the United States, there is significant diversity in the structure and goals associated with IZ programs. IZ programs can be voluntary or mandatory, and whether or not IZ is employed is dependent on an array of triggers including the proposed size of a housing development project, the current state of the market in the proposed area, number of applicable low- to moderate-income residents in need of housing, and more.

In some cases, the IZ homes can be located off-site rather than within the market-rate development. Also, the affordability restriction that dictates the IZ program can last for various lengths of time. Since IZ was first introduced in 1972, it has grown steadily with well over 300 United States jurisdictions possessing some form of IZ ordinance on the books. The NYU Furman Center examined 31 distinct models of IZ across the United States, finding that the function of IZ ordinances varied greatly from community to community.

Working in accordance with IZ ordinances can be confusing, but a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law can guide you through the regulations for your area. In part two, our team will examine more arguments for and against IZ.

If you would like to speak with a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.