City officials in Fort Collins, in an effort to see the construction of more affordable housing, are contemplating zoning changes that will require developers to build housing for lower-income residents.
The move for what is being called “inclusionary zoning” also includes the imposition of affordable housing impact fees, or linkage fees, that would place a fee on all projects in the city in order to fund other affordable home projects.
The idea, very much in the talking stage, has sparked the opposition of several business groups, including the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, which has said that the zoning change and impact fees will have the effect of making worse the exact problem city leaders are trying to lessen.
Instead, the Chamber has recommended that the city reduce upfront project regulation costs for developers, while also allowing for an increase in housing density.
According to a study conducted by the Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy, more than 300 cities, towns, and counties nationally have implemented inclusionary zoning policies.
Proponents of such policies, says the report, The Effects of Inclusionary Zoning on Local Housing Markets, argue that they require “less direct public subsidy than traditional affordable housing programs,” and are subsequently thought to be more fiscally sustainable.
But opponents say inclusionary zoning many times prompts developers to simply build instead in districts without such zoning.
Members of the Fort Collins City Council are expected to take up both the inclusionary zoning and linkage fee questions during their upcoming March 24 meeting.
By Garry Boulard