Changes Aim to Strengthen Efforts to Provide Quality Affordable Housing
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and DC Department of Housing and Community Development Director Michael P. Kelly recently announced new regulations for the District of Columbia’s Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Program that will help strengthen the city’s efforts to provide quality affordable housing. The regulations streamline the regulatory process, address building permit issues, enhance the outreach to qualified residents, and make it easier for developers to build affordable housing units. This effort complements many other steps Mayor Gray has taken to increase production of affordable housing.
“These programmatic changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Program are vital to ensuring quality affordable housing is available for the residents of the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray. “My administration heard the concerns and made adjustments as needed.”
The regulations–which are now open for public comment–cover various aspects of the IZ program, in particular, the process of occupying IZ units. Under the new regulations, prospective homeowners must attend counseling prior to registering for the program. This provision will better prepare residents to immediately purchase in the event they are selected for available for-sale units. Developers now have the option of using a lottery system to fill their units. The new regulations will give them additional options to submit a marketing plan, which must be approved by DHCD, or utilize a District-licensed real estate broker to attract purchasers.
DHCD also released the 2013 IZ Annual Report, highlighting the growing success of the IZ program, despite programmatic challenges and low production numbers.
“This is has been a long time coming and we are so proud to be able to make significant strides with the Inclusionary Zoning Program. We have heard and assessed concerns, and we believe these new regulations will address current issues as we continue to work with the development community and residents,” said Director Kelly. “The 2013 IZ report shows evidence of steady growth. With these new regulations, we hope to see significant improvements in developers’ ability to fill units.”
The 2013 IZ Annual Report shows that 19 projects with 95 inclusionary units started construction in 2013 and the Office of Planning is tracking another 99 IZ-applicable projects in pre-development stage that will provide another 1,124 inclusionary units. This represents an increase of 45 Inclusionary Units in the IZ pre-development pipeline since the 2012 Annual Report. In total, the IZ Report shows that 3,059 new units of housing were issued building permits during 2013.
The regulations are open for public comment for the next 30 days before becoming final.
To view the regulations and the full IZ report, visit DHCD’s website at www.dhcd.dc.gov.