🏡 Denver’s got (another) new a affordable housing policy
BY PEYTON GARCIA | @CITYCASTDENVER
“Expanding Housing Affordability”
On Monday night, Denver City Council voted 10-1 to pass the highly anticipated “Expanding Housing Affordability” policy. Let’s dig into the fine print. What does it entail? And is it the silver bullet we need to address Denver’s housing crisis?
What exactly is in the policy?
- Requirements: Developers building multifamily projects with 10 or more units are now required to set aside 8% to 15% of those units as income-restricted for households making between 60% and 90% of the area median income for a family of three.
- Incentives: Developers who build more income-restricted housing are privy to some zoning exemptions, like greater height allowances and reduced permit fees.
- Fees: The policy will steeply increase linkage fees (one-time charges that smaller residential or commercial developers must pay to offset the impact of their new construction). That money goes into the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.
- A loophole: Developers can get out of building income-restricted units by coughing up cash in lieu of following the mandate. Or, by offering another way to contribute to affordable housing to the community, like donating land exclusively for an income-restricted project.
Critics of the policy are saying:
The area median income is currently $105,500 for a family of three. Wouldn’t Denver benefit more from a policy focused on people making less than 30% of the AMI or people living unsheltered on the streets?
Developers who opposed the policy said it would disincentivize new construction in Denver and drive up construction costs that will ultimately be the burden of renters who don’t qualify for income-restricted housing.
Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca was the lone no vote, calling the policy “smoke and mirrors” and “virtue-signaling politics.”
For more on this subject:
City Council mandates developers help solve Denver’s housing crisis [Denverite]
Denver’s new affordable housing era: Income-restricted housing will now be mandated [Denver Post]
Denver City Council approves major affordable housing policy [Westword]
Expanding Housing Affordability [City of Denver]
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The show closes June 12; find out more and get tickets here.