Housing News Roundup: June 16, 2015
California Supreme Court: Localities Can Require Developers to Build Affordable Housing
The California Supreme Court has affirmed that cities and counties in the state are free to require developers to sell housing at below-market rates or contribute to an affordable housing fund, in an effort to increase the state’s affordable housing stock. Developers argue that the ordinances only make it more difficult to create new housing stock, a consequence that will exacerbate the housing affordability crisis. Another concern is that the requirement will drive up prices for market rate units, resulting in fewer units available to the middle class. The decision clears the way for Los Angeles and other cities to create similar ordinances.
Source: The Los Angeles Times
Pittsburgh Experiments With Smaller Housing Solutions
Pittsburgh-based cityLAB, an economic development non-profit, wants to build a model tiny house in the city to attract buyers in search of affordable housing. Tiny houses and micro units are increasingly popular across the country as people are looking to trade the more conventional trappings of middle incomes – such as greater square footage – for the ability to live in central locations. The organization hopes to raise $100,000 through crowdfunding for the construction of the 350-square-foot home.
Source: Next City
Philadelphia Provides Land for Much-Needed Affordable Housing
“Anyone, regardless of their checkbook or pocketbook, has the opportunity to live in their neighborhood,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson regarding a new program that aims to make new housing affordable to existing residents in up-and-coming Philadelphia neighborhoods. This marked just the first step in a plan to ensure a level of affordability for the longtime residents of areas with increasing housing costs. The city is providing developers with vacant land for nominal fees in exchange for the affordable housing. The goal of the City Council initiative is to add 1,000 rental units and 1,000 houses targeted at families between 80% and 120% of area median income.
Minneapolis May Overhaul Parking Requirements for Buildings Near Transit
The Minneapolis planning commission is considering a new proposal that could potentially lower housing costs while encouraging greater use of the city’s public transportation system. Currently, developers must build one parking space per unit, but can receive a 10% parking reduction if they are within 300 feet of a transit service with 30-minute intervals. The new proposal would overhaul parking requirements for developments near transit stops with 15-minute intervals. For buildings within 350 feet of such stops, as well as smaller buildings a quarter mile away, there would be no parking requirements at all; larger buildings a quarter mile away could have their requirement reduced by half. Mandatory parking spaces can add significant costs to developments that are often passed on to tenants.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune