City Council Approves Density Bonus Incentive to Encourage Single-Family Inclusionary Housing

On Tuesday night, the Charlotte City Council unanimously approved a zoning ordinance text amendment that creates a single-family density bonus of up to 3 units per acre above the base zoning density for developments in targeted areas of the city where median home values currently exceed $153,000. This bonus may be elected by right (no rezoning required) in the R-3, R-4, R-5, and R-6 zoning districts, as long as at least 50% of the additional units allowed by the bonus are priced within reach of buyers earning no more than 80% of Area Median Income (currently $168,000 for a family of 4).

Other elements of the text amendment include:

    Reduced development standards, including smaller front and rear-yard setbacks, and the ability to apply the cluster provisions for lot size and lot width of the zoning category.Ability to include duplex, triplex, and quadraplex buildings within a subdivision, as long as they are on internal lots and make up no more than 50% of the bonus units in the development.The total number of affordable units shall to exceed 25% of total housing units in the development.The exterior of all affordable units within the development must blend in architecturally with the market-rate product (similar roof pitches, foundations, window types, building materials).To ensure continued affordability, the City or a nonprofit housing agency shall have first right of refusal on the purchase of any affordable unit following the initial sale, and any rental properties in the development must remain affordable for a 15-year period.

REBIC and our member associations were instrumental in the development of this voluntary, incentive-based program, and were in full support of its adoption.  We believe it provides an opportunity for the city to encourage the construction of affordable housing in specific areas of Charlotte where that supply is quickly disappearing, including South Park, Ballantyne and Steele Creek. For builders and developers, it offers a way to achieve higher residential densities with no rezoning, while serving a segment of the market that would not otherwise be able to buy in some of the most desirable areas of our community.

You can download a copy of the approved ordinance HERE.

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