Wisconsin Coalition Releases Housing Affordability Toolkit

The guide outlines zoning reforms that can encourage affordable housing construction and increase density and walkability.

March 30, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wisconsin State Capital

Madison, Wisconsin, one of the state's fastest-growing cities. | Wollertz / Shutterstock

A new toolkit from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (LWM), the Congress of New Urbanism, and several other Wisconsin organizations "offers a list of zoning reforms, with suggestions such as allowing narrower lots, reduced setbacks and a mix of housing types to reduce development costs" that can improve housing affordability in the state. As Roberta Baumann reports, the document is aimed at guiding communities in increasing 'missing middle housing' and other more affordable housing types.

While the guide, titled "Enabling Better Places: A User’s Guide to Wisconsin Neighborhood Affordability," does not mandate any zoning changes, notes Baumann, local governments are encouraged to use the tools it provides when the opportunity comes up. 

One community, Waunakee, will evaluate parking reform regulations at an upcoming public meeting, "mainly because recent developments have been approved with parking exemptions." According to Waunakee community development director Tim Semmann, "[c]hanging patterns in shopping trends have rendered some regulations as outdated." The village's Community Development Authority (CDA) is also "creating policies for using Housing Betterment Fund dollars derived from Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) district extensions for affordable housing."

Saturday, March 26, 2022 in Waunakee Tribune

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