Mayor Proposes Increased Inclusionary Zoning

Proposal Would Increase Square Footage Dedicated to Affordable Housing

1093
Mayor Muriel Bowser is pictured in this file photo at Frager’s Garden Center (1123 Independence Ave. SE) Monday.

On Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Office on Planning proposed a bold new application to a decade-old program that would establish an increased Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) requirement of up to 20 percent of residential gross floor area when additional residential density is requested through a zoning map change.

Inclusionary zoning requires residential projects with 10 units or more to provide 8 to 11 percent of its residential square footage as affordable housing. In order to support this affordability, zoning allows developers to build a larger building than would normally be allowed for that particular zone. Expanded Inclusionary Zoning (aka “IZ Plus”) would increase this scale to require 10 to 20 percent affordable housing for changes to the zoning map that provide greater density. The Office of Planning (OP) will file the program proposal with the Zoning Commission for consideration and public comment this winter.

Bowser said the proposal is part of the effort to build 36,000 new affordable homes –12,000 of them affordable– by 2025.

In Ward 6 there is a goal of adding 1,400 affordable units by 2025. Many are already underway, including 100 controversial units in the Donatelli Development on Reservation 13. According to District Data, Capitol Hill contains 3 percent of the affordable housing in the city, or 1,753 units. There are 50,871 income-restricted affordable units District-wide.

“Expanded Inclusionary Zoning is a solution that reflects DC values – a solution that will not only yield more affordable homes, but more and better opportunities for the residents in those homes,” said Bowser. “We know we need 36,000 new homes by 2025, which is just around the corner. We urge the Zoning Commission to take this up as soon as possible.”

In October, the Mayor set housing targets by neighborhood through her Housing Equity Report, making DC the first city in the nation to set explicit neighborhood goals aimed at combating the history of racially-discriminatory housing policies. The report provides an analysis of current affordable housing distribution and proposes specific targets by planning area. The report and more information can be found at housing.dc.gov.

The proposal also comes as the District considers changes to The Comprehensive, or ‘Comp’ Plan. The Comp Plan is a high-level guiding document that sets a positive, long-term vision for the District, through the lens of its physical growth and change. It is divided into 25 elements and two maps, the Future Land Use Map and the Generalized Policy Map.

Housing is a critical theme of the proposed Comp Plan and achieving the Mayor’s goals will require changes being proposed to the text and maps. Specifically, through proposed land use changes in the Future Land Use Map, the District would create additional 15 percent capacity for development and housing.

The public can provide comments on the Comp Plan through January 10, 2020. The Administration has prioritized Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) feedback during this public review period by providing an extended comment period through February 14, 2020. You can learn more at plandc.dc.gov.

The public is also invited to join Bowser and representatives DC housing agencies at “New Year, New Housing” on January 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for a discussion of the work necessary to meet these housing goals.

Additional information about this event is available at: https://NewYearNewHousing.eventbrite.com.