Report touts the housing benefits of inclusionary zoning | News
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Report touts the housing benefits of inclusionary zoning

Posted by on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM

Raleigh's new high-rise luxury condos, SkyHouse Raleigh. - PHOTO BY BOB GEARY
  • Photo by Bob Geary
  • Raleigh's new high-rise luxury condos, SkyHouse Raleigh.

We've written extensively in these pages about the Triangle's affordable housing struggles. Chapel Hill is still waiting for the fruits of its 2008 inclusionary zoning ordinance, a policy that requires new developments to include affordable housing components or make a payment in lieu.

Durham doesn't seem quite sure how it will approach this issue. Leaders in Raleigh have been cool to the idea of an inclusionary zoning policy from the start. But a recent report from the Massachusetts-based Lincoln Institute of Land Policy throws the thinktank's support behind Chapel Hill. The report, released Thursday, argues that the zoning policy has been used successfully in more than 500 locales to prevent gentrification in growing communities like ours. 

“Inclusionary housing alone will not solve our housing crisis, but it is one of the few bulwarks we have against the effects of gentrification—and, only if we preserve the units that we work so hard to create," said Lincoln Institute President George McCarthy. 

As we reported earlier this year, Chapel Hill has used the policy to generate more than 300 new units and almost $5 million in contributions to the town's housing fund, although the numbers still show the town is barely keeping up with the ever-rising cost of housing. 

However, the Lincoln Institute's report advocates that the approach can be effective, provided leaders work closely with builders to make construction profitable and follow-up to ensure that new affordable units are preserved even in the event of a sale.

Read the entire report here. 

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