Sunday, November 12, 2006
Have the editors at the Pilot & Today and the developers lost sight of the fact that the main goal and primary intent of the inclusionary zoning ordinance is to provide on site affordable housing? Payment in lieu is only another option when the on-site housing requirement cannot be met.
In the case of One Steamboat Place, on-site housing has already been determined to be preferred.
As stated in sec. 26-148(a) of the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance the purpose is " to encourage developers of free market housing to construct Community Housing on site. It is the City's intent that community housing is intermingled throughout the city and is not concentrated in one area of the city."
There is nothing ambiguous about those two sentences. Build it where you are putting up new residential units and spread it around. And again in section 26-148(f) Location: "Community housing (should) be provided on the same site as the development... alternative off site location may be allowed." The ordinance does not make it a right to use the payment in lieu; instead it is an option to be used at the discretion of the City Council.
The developer of One Steamboat Place is charged with providing the majority of affordable housing on-site because payment in lieu does not work to satisfy the requirements for this particular project. It may work in other future developments. But it would have been irresponsible of the council to allow a payment in lieu to go forward for this project.
Now, the developers are angry, gathering their coalition forces against city council, claiming the IZ ordinance is unclear and threatening to stop all development. Certainly a dramatic move designed to discredit the City Council. The Council is taking a lot of heat for standing firm on their decision to uphold the sections 26-148 (a) and (f) of the inclusionary zoning ordinance. That's what strong leaders do in the face of adversity and controversy.