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Voluntary Inclusionary Zoning Scores Early Wins in Philadelphia

A compromise was necessary to enact inclusionary zoning in Philadelphia, and so far it eems to be working out for program supporters.
June 28, 2019, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Philadelphia Construction
Fernando Garcia Esteban

Nine months after Philadelphia expanded its voluntary inclusionary zoning bonus program, 12 projects using the incentive are in the pipeline and the idea is bearing fruit.

Jake Blumgart reports: "The 12 projects will collectively generate more than eight units of affordable housing and deliver $3 million to the city’s Housing Trust Fund, said Paul Chrystie, a spokesman for the Kenney administration."

The new inclusionary zoning program was approved in September, in a deal brokered by Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. The law "allows developers to build denser and taller residential projects if they include affordable units on site or contribute money to the Trust Fund — a kind of municipal bank that can provide subsidies for affordable projects," according to Blumgart.

The deal that allowed the inclusionary zoning deal to win approval switched the program from mandatory to voluntary and nixed a proposed construction tax.

"Quiñones-Sánchez said that while she still would prefer a policy that mandated developers build affordable or pay into the housing fund, the voluntary bonus’s track record so far signifies a win," according to Blumgart.

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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 in PlanPhilly
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