For several decades, Longmont has had effective programs for providing affordable housing. The “inclusionary zoning” ordinance is one of these programs. The ordinance, which requires that 10 percent of residential development be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes, was adopted in 1993 after extensive study and community involvement. Revisited and amended several times since, the ordinance also provides for cash payment in lieu of affordable units, and it allows for a number of exceptions and credits. The League of Women Voters of Boulder County opposes a moratorium on the requirements of the ordinance, let alone repeal of the ordinance, without careful consideration, a thorough review of the data that support the need for the change and adequate citizen input.
Inclusionary zoning, a requirement in hundreds of American cities, is intended to counter “exclusionary zoning” or the exclusion of low-cost housing through the zoning code. As stated in the Longmont ordinance itself (City Code, section 15.05.220, Affordable Housing), the lack of an adequate supply of housing for the city’s work force results in decreased productivity and higher labor costs for Longmont employers, more commuting, increased traffic congestion and air pollution, increased social service costs and less cultural and socioeconomic diversity.
The ordinance is intended to:
- Implement the housing goals of the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan;
- Promote the construction of housing that is affordable to the work force; • allow people who work in the city to live in the city;
- Provide housing for people of all income levels; and
- Promote the availability of a range of housing options.
Inclusionary zoning has served Longmont well, advancing the social diversity and economic vitality of the community through good times and bad. We urge the City Council to retain this ordinance.
President, League of Women Voters of Boulder County