Council to Consider Proposal for Multifamily Inclusionary Housing Incentive

On Tuesday night, January 22, the Charlotte City Council will consider a proposed text amendment that would provide a multifamily density bonus of up to 5 units per acre above the base zoning density for developments in targeted areas of the city where median home values currently exceed $153,000.

In the R8-MF zoning district, developers can receive a by right density bonus (no rezoning required) of 2 units per acre, and in the R-12MF zoning districts, the bonus increases to 3 units per acre (a total of 15 upa). Developers in those districts can also take a density bonus of an additional 2 units per acre if their site is located within 1/4 mile of a transit stop (bus or rail).

The density incentives are available as long as at least 50% of the additional units allowed by the bonus are priced within reach of buyers or renters earning no more than 80% of Area Median Income (currently $168,000 for a family of 4). In addition, 50% of the affordable units must be priced for buyers or renters earning 60% of AMI or below. The bonus is available for use by either rental or owner-occupied product.

Some of the other provisions in the ordinance include:

    Development size must be a minimum of 3 acres. 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).The affordable units must be dispersed throughout the development, unless their total number exceeds 25 units, in which case they may be contained in a separate building.The total number of affordable units shall to exceed 20% of the total development.Rental units must remain affordable for a minimum of 15 years, and the City or a nonprofit housing agency shall have first right of refusal on the purchase of any affordable owner-occupied unit.

REBIC and our member associations were instrumental in the development of this voluntary, incentive-based program, and fully support its adoption by Council. 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 apartment and condominium 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.

We particularly encourage multifamily developers and any other interested members to plan on attending the January 22 public hearing, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 600 East Fourth St. in Charlotte.

Another text amendment to encourage mixed-income single-family development will also be up for a vote on the 22nd, following a December public hearing.

If you’d like to learn more about the city’s Incentive-Based Inclusionary Housing Initiative, you can check out the most recent presentation to Council’s Housing & Neighborhood Development Committee, which approved both text amendments late last year.

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