Well, the city of Longmont has finally rid itself of that pesky inclusionary zoning program. Unintended consequences of that decision are: the inability to leverage private capital necessary to build work-force housing; the inability to finance needed repairs such as roof replacement on a family rental property or an elevator replacement on a senior housing project; and limited ability to support the purchase of lots by Habitat for Humanity.
As a six-year member of the city’s Affordable Housing Technical Review Committee, I reviewed real projects like those above that were supported by the city’s Affordable Housing Fund financed through the inclusionary zoning program. During that period, thousands of frail elderly, handicapped and persons in low-paying jobs benefited from these publicly supported housing investments.
The next time a City Council member hears from a Longmont teacher or a police officer that they have taken a job in Johnstown or Frederick because it’s closer to “home” where the housing is cheaper, I hope they will remember the decision to eliminate the inclusionary zoning program.
The next time a local housing development project misses out on the opportunity to bring millions of dollars in outside investment, (e.g., the Hover Crossing Senior housing project) due to lack of local commitment, remember this decision.
The next time economic development advocates come to the city with reports that lack of work-force housing is a hindrance to attracting new business, remember this decision.
These will be unintended consequences of the elimination of the inclusionary zoning program.
Reconstitute the affordable housing fund through a different funding mechanism. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!