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New Inclusionary Zoning Rules in DC Will Take Effect in June

by Nena Perry-Brown

With demand for housing in the District at historic highs, it is no wonder that affordable housing is scarce throughout the city for both low- and moderate-income households.

Now, the city is attempting to leverage its existing system of inclusionary zoning (IZ) in hopes that the program will assist those who need it most.

Last summer, the Zoning Commission voted in favor of mandating that all new IZ rental units be affordable, at minimum, to households earning up to 60 percent of the median family income (MFI) rather than the current 80 percent threshold; the standard will still be 80 percent for for-sale units. These new rules will take effect on June 5th.

Developers who demonstrate economic hardship in meeting the requirements on-site will still be able to secure a waiver in exchange for creating affordable housing elsewhere. The required IZ set-aside for for-sale developments can be reduced by 20 percent if the IZ units that remain are earmarked for households earning up to 60 percent median family income.

Currently, IZ allows developers zoning relief to construct denser projects than what is allowed by-right on a given site by mandating that a percentage of the housing units be set aside for households earning less than the area median income (AMI). However, developers would often set aside the required units for households earning up to 80 percent AMI — still a relatively generous salary for an area whose 2016 AMI was $108,600.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculates AMI/MFI for all metropolitan areas nationwide. HUD’s median family income for the District specifically and for the DC metro area more broadly is $110,300 for fiscal year 2017.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/new_iz_rules_take_effect_june_5th/12512

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