Inclusionary zones are areas designated by the local government that requires inclusionary housing. Inclusionary housing is a residential or commercial development project that incorporates affordable housing with housing sold or rented at the market rate.
Many local government policies require housing in the inclusionary zones to include a certain percent of units as affordable housing for families that earn between 60 to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). The City of Atlanta’s inclusionary zoning policy requires new development that has 10 or more rental units located in inclusionary zones to provide 10 percent of the units at or below 60 percent of the AMI or 15 percent of the units at or below 80 percent. Atlanta developers also may pay a one-time “in lieu of” fee instead of providing affordable housing in the development.
Inclusionary zones are intended to increase the amount of affordable housing in areas with significant growth. They’re usually in areas with nearby amenities, such as public transportation and retail. They work best in cities with a strong real estate market where developers can earn a profit on the new construction to help cover the costs of the affordable housing units. In exchange for incorporating inclusionary housing, the local government will often provide financial incentives for the developer, such as tax breaks.
According to InclusionaryHousing.org, there are more than 1,000 inclusionary zoning projects throughout the U.S, and according to City of Atlanta materials, there are 16 such projects around metro Atlanta, including the Atlanta Beltline and Westside developments. The Westside development Microsoft plans to build is also expected to include inclusionary housing. Currently, Atlanta’s inclusionary zones provide more than 360 affordable housing units.
Sources used for this article:
Atlanta Civic Circle: Has Atlanta’s Inclusionary Zoning Program Done Enough to Boost Housing Affordability?
Atlanta Civic Circle: New Affordable Housing District Proves City Could Beef up Inclusionary Zoning Policies
City of Atlanta Department of City Planning Inclusionary Zoning Report
City of Atlanta: Inclusionary Zoning