inclusionary zoning

inclusionary zoning - Martin 1 Sam Liccardo's successful...

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-1 Sam Liccardo's successful campaign for city council in 2006 was built upon his professed commitment to provide affordable housing. When asked what about his platform resonated most among his District 3 constituents, Liccardo listed affordable housing as the very first issue deserving mention 1 . In his noble quest to make housing more available to working class residents of San Jose, he's tried to make good on that promise with a method called inclusionary zoning. But inclusionary zoning has caused myriad unintended consequences in many jurisdictions where it has been enacted, and the analysis commissioned by the City Council may very well not address those concerns. In the end, Liccardo seems more interested in securing proponents for his plan than actually determining whether that plan will be effective. Inclusionary zoning ("IZ") laws require private contractors to build a specified number or percentage of new housing units so that thy can be bought by residents who fall below the area median income. San Jose has already implemented IZ, with some success, in designated "redevelopment areas." The plan requires 20% of all new units must be sold to "low-income" (those earning 51-80% of area median income) or "very low-income" residents (those earning less than 50% of area median income) 2 . Liccardo's proposal is to make the same restrictions apply city-wide. If approved, San Jose would become one of over 100 California municipalities to enact IZ ordinances since Palo Alto became the first to do so in 1973 3 . But IZ is not as simple as it may seem. The experiences of many jurisdictions adopting IZ policies have been mixed at best. In San Francisco, the Association of Bay Area Governments estimated that the area needed 24,217 new "affordable" units each year from 2001-2006. Yet only 6,838 affordable units have been built in the thirty years since IZ was first passed, or roughly 14.7 new units in each jurisdiction per year 4 . Similarly, Los Angeles County and Orange County estimated their need for affordable units at 1600 each year, yet have seen an average of only 34 new units constructed per year in each jurisdiction 5 . Liccardo himself recently admitted that IZ acts as a tax on new developments 6 . In effect, this raises the cost to developers in the form of foregone revenue-- the "opportunity cost," as economists call it, 1 Sam Liccardo, in remarks made before the SJSU chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, Oct. 2007. 2 City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency. "City of San Jose Policy on Implementation of the Inclusionary Housing Requirement."19 June 2007. Available at 3 Benjamin Powell & Edward Stringham. "Housing Supply and Affordability: Do Affordable Housing Mandates Work?" Reason Foundation Policy Study, 318. 2004 4 Association of Bay Area Governments. "Regional Housing Needs Determination for the San Francisco Bay Area: 2001-2006 Housing Element Cycle." (2001): 33. 5 Southern California Association of Governments. "The State of the Region," (2003): 35-42.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLS 103 taught by Professor Christensen during the Spring '08 term at San Jose State.

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inclusionary zoning - Martin 1 Sam Liccardo's successful...

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