In 1984, one of the early tools the City established to incentivize affordable housing was Land Management Code § 15-6-7, Master Planned Affordable Housing Development (Affordable Housing Code). The Affordable Housing Code provides a density bonus and a reduction in open space requirements for developers of master planned developments with 100% affordable housing. However, despite these incentives, no project has ever been developed as a result of the Affordable Housing Code.
One of the City’s goals is to establish 800 affordable housing units by 2026. To achieve this ambitious goal, the City is working from many angles to identify opportunities to incentivize affordable housing in the community. As part of this effort, in 2017, the Community Development Department coordinated a study with planning staff and the affordable housing team to figure out why developers weren’t taking advantage of the density bonus and open space reductions outlined in the Affordable Housing Code.
Staff researched the affordable housing programs of ten cities to identify opportunities within the City’s Affordable Housing Code to better incentivize development. As a result of this study, staff proposed amendments to the Affordable Housing Code with enhanced incentives and clarifies standards to encourage developers to build affordable housing. Staff presented their findings to the City Council in a work session on April 5, 2018 (Staff Report; Council Meeting Minutes). Council supported staff’s proposed changes.
Staff then presented the proposed amendments to the Planning Commission on May 9, 2018 (Staff Report (p. 52); Commission Meeting (p. 11)). The Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council consider enacting the proposed amendments.
On May 17, 2018, City Council considered the proposed amendments and requested further study (Staff Report, Council Meeting Minutes). Council directed staff to hire a third-party consultant to analyze the proposed amendments to determine whether or not the incentives went far enough to encourage development of affordable housing projects.
On April 4, 2019, the City hired Cascadia Partners, a consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon, to create affordable housing project models based on the proposed Affordable Housing Code incentives and to analyze the feasibility of these models. On December 5, 2019, Cascadia presented a draft Affordable Master Planned Development Code Audit Report: Identifying Zoning and Housing Development Barriers to Council (Staff Report; Council Meeting Minutes). Cascadia’s recommendations included (1) the reduction of the 25-foot master planned development setback to the zone-required setback [for projects under two acres in all master planned developments, not just the Affordable Housing Code], (2) the reduction of open space requirements in the Affordable Housing Code, and (3) the reduction of parking requirements in the Affordable Housing Code. Council directed staff to amend the Land Management Code to address these three items, and to address Cascadia’s recommendations on increased building height and further reductions to parking at a later date after further stakeholder and public engagement.
On January 8, 2020, staff presented amendments to the Land Management Code that reduced the master planned development setback to the zone-required setback, reduced open space requirements, and reduced parking requirements to the Planning Commission (Staff Report; Commission Meeting Audio). The Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council adopt the proposed amendments. City Council reviewed the proposed amendments on January 16, 2020 and requested additional edits (Staff Report and Audio). Staff will bring the proposed Land Management Code amendments before the City Council on January 30, 2020. The public is encouraged to attend and to provide input on the proposed amendments.
If you have questions or would like to provide input on the proposed amendments, please contact Hannah Tyler.