In his State of the City address, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the City’s inclusionary zoning ordinance has failed. He also said, “Its unbalanced requirement of developers to provide affordable units is plagued with loopholes and inconsistencies.”
In the past four years only 15 affordable units have been added to the housing inventory. City staff is now considering changes that will make the ordinance more effective. Already the City has made it easier for the owners of affordable units to rent or sell their properties. According to the Denver Post, future efforts will include providing more incentives and flexibility.
Since the ordinance’s launch in 2002, Denver has paid out $3.9 million in rebates and other incentives to developers. (Currently the City pays developers $5,500 for each affordable unit.) The City has collected $3.7 million from developers choosing to opt out and pay cash-in-lieu rather than build any affordable units.
Note: Inclusionary zoning also failed to meet its objectives in Longmont. Is there a better way to create affordable housing? Should government be involved in the creation of housing at all? These questions remain to be answered.