Zoning out or zoning in-clusionary

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Hot trends in local zoning include age-restricted villages, in-law abodes, and inclusionary zoning – a requirement or incentives to include affordable houses in market rate developments. Our 2004 survey revealed that 99 of the 187 communities within 50 miles of Boston have inclusionary bylaws on the books.

Developers argue that some inclusionary laws drive up the cost of development (and ultimately the price of market rate housing), and can make some projects infeasible. Housing advocates argue that inclusionary policies are the best way to ensure that affordable housing is integrated throughout communities, and built in the first place.

NYU just released a study comparing inclusionary laws in MA localities to San Francisco and DC regions. If you are considering inclusionary zoning for your community, this is worth reading. Some but not all inclusionary laws work to produce affordable housing.

The study cautions that inclusionary zoning should not be considered a panacea to the lack of affordable housing in a region. I agree – there are other tools. Let’s see… age-restricted villages, in-law flats…