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Tools to Address Local Housing Needs. Created by Maura Collins , Vermont Housing Finance Agency – Presented by XX XXXX, XXRPC . First steps:. Conduct a housing needs analysis to determine what kind of housing the community needs

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tools to address local housing needs

Tools to Address Local Housing Needs

Created by Maura Collins, Vermont Housing Finance Agency– Presented by XX XXXX, XXRPC

first steps
First steps:
  • Conduct a housing needs analysis to determine what kind of housing the community needs
  • Draft a robust and accurate housing component in the municipal plan
  • Articulate a vision for housing development and update bylaws to implement it
pay attention to regional housing context
Pay Attention to Regional Housing Context
  • Participate in Regional Planning - Important to know what neighboring towns are doing
  • Nearby development will impact local demand for certain housing types
    • Example: Building a large elderly complex in one town may lighten the demand for elderly housing by surrounding towns
  • Increased regulation by a neighboring community may mean more developers wanting to avoid that town, driving them to neighboring communities
identify important land within the community
identify important land within the community
  • Identify key parcels for housing by evaluating development and redevelopment opportunities and constraints in the community
    • Apply analysis used for state designation of Neighborhood Development Areas
  • Once identified, local planning staff/volunteers could welcome a dialogue with those property owners about their plans
    • This doesn’t always mean that these parcels should be slated for development, but maybe need to be protected, preserved, or potentially rehabilitated for new use
donate or sell municipal land for housing development
Donate or sell municipal land for housing development
  • Municipalities (and others) can sell or donate land for residential development to lower the cost
  • Examples:
  • Waterfront housing in Burlington (photo)
  • Johnson’s local utility sold some land for housing
  • Schools often sell/give properties for redevelopment
  • Swanton’s old town garage (in heart of village) could be made into housing

Image: gossens.bachman.Architects

support housing projects throughout the development process
Support housing Projects throughout the development process
  • Community opposition to housing can be a threat to making homes available to people who need them.
  • Clearly communicate the town’s housing goals and vision for development in the municipal plan.
  • Maintain good communication with neighborhoods about proposed development
  • Be as transparent as possible in development review deliberations
  • Submit a letter of support for developers applying for public funding (if applicable)
  • If a state or non-profit board holds a meeting to allocate funds for a housing project, attend the meeting to show support
apply to vt community development program for housing funds
Apply TO VT Community Development Program for housing Funds
  • The VCDP is available to municipalities for a wide range of activities, and housing is a priority for this funding.
  • Developers of affordable housing need the municipality to apply on their behalf
  • By applying for and supporting an application throughout the process municipalities can help increase the supply of affordable homes for townspeople
promote accessory dwelling units adu s
Promote accessory dwelling units (ADUs)
  • Allow ADU approvals to be made administratively, not through Board/Commission review
  • Look for funding to support ADU construction/rehab like Brattleboro
    • Volunteer-lead effort
  • Use municipal funds to support ADUs like Montpelier
  • Educate homeowners with ADUs about what it takes to be a landlord with VT Tenants’ resources
create an active housing commission
Create an active housing commission
  • Hinesburg Affordable Housing Committee’s Goals:
  • Work with Hinesburg appointed and elected officials, Hinesburg residents and landowners, and other Hinesburg organizations on ways to implement the Housing Goals and Objectives in the Town Plan.
  • (Taken from website February 2014)
  • State allows for housing commissions
  • Several examples across Vermont:
    • Montpelier Housing Task Force
    • South Burlington Affordable Housing Subcommittee
    • Hinesburg Affordable Housing Committee
  • Dedicated to continual attention to housing issues
create a housing trust fund
Create a Housing Trust Fund
  • Popular tool, nationally, because of flexibility of funding, and full municipal control
  • Town decides targeting (housing type, population, etc.)
  • Three local housing trust funds:
    • Charlotte (only for current property owners, max of $30,000 for no more than 3 units)
    • Montpelier (committee awards funds paid for by penny on property tax)
    • Burlington (funded by IZ and housing replacement/retention payments)

Image: Center for Community Changes’ Housing Trust Fund Project

promote affordable homeownership through shared equity model
Promote affordable homeownership through Shared Equity Model
  • Local community land trusts administer the shared equity program to create affordable homeownership opportunities
  • Towns can match or provide some additional down-payment assistance for these perpetually affordable homes, making them more affordable
  • Piggy-backing off existing programs can bring ongoing monitoring with little local staff involvement
designate an area for revitalization and growth
Designate an area for Revitalization AND growth
  • State-approved areas that trigger incentives for municipalities and developers
  • Commercial/Mixed Use Core
    • Village Centers
    • Downtowns
    • New Town Centers
  • Walkable Neighborhoods
    • Neighborhood Development Areas
  • Comprehensive Planning
    • Growth Centers
help the community visualize density
Help the community visualize density
  • Thinking and envisioning in terms of units/acre or zoning districts is hard
  • Help residents fully understand what’s on the books
  • Encourage photo submissions of good/bad design
  • Engage online tools like Lincoln Land Institute

Images: Vermont Design Institute

envision the kind of development the community wants
Envision the kind of development the Community wants
  • Engage residents in designing the form of future development
  • Adopt a physical master plan
  • Fund and construct the needed public facilities
  • Craft bylaws that require the desired development pattern
abide by stated density or as of right development
Abide by stated density or “as of right development”
  • In locations identified by the town for development allow housing units at the maximum allowed density
  • Developers commonly understand that the zoning density allowed for a parcel is rarely what is approved
    • Set back, lot coverage, and other dimensional requirements also restrict density
  • Offering density bonuses are only meaningful if a town is abiding by the allowed density in the first place
  • Towns should encourage residential development as a permitted use (as opposed to conditional use) wherever possible
create expand a density bonus or offer lot coverage or height bonuses
Create/expand a density bonus or offer lot coverage or height bonuses
  • One of the most common tools to encourage particular housing types or affordable housing – usually part of PUD regulations.
  • Bonuses can reduce the cost of housing by allowing more units on the same parcel
  • Factors to consider:
    • Define affordable housing
    • Define applicable housing types (rent/own)
    • How to monitor housing created
    • Enforcement provisions
look at permitting costs and the impact on housing
Look at permitting costs and the impact on housing
  • Consider allowing fees to be paid on a deferred basis
  • Consider allowing for fee reductions or waivers for certain housing types or affordable housing
consider timing of high cost plans and reviews
Consider timing of high cost plans and reviews
  • Invite developers to discuss the timing and order of the plans required for development review from concept to final
    • Sometimes detailed plans and sketches are required very early in a development or redevelopment project, raising the cost and therefore risk of the project
  • Some towns go so far as to expedite permits and reviews for desired residential activities
consider reducing cost of infrastructure
Consider reducing cost of infrastructure
  • Question whether all the public works requirements are necessary, such as wide roads, curbs, lighting and recreational facilities
  • Allow for reductions or waivers for the types of housing the town wants to encourage
reduce or waive impact fees
Reduce or waive impact fees
  • While these can be a way for municipalities to raise revenue to support new development, they can also add to the cost of housing and prevent more housing development.
  • Some communities will waive or reduce their fees for the housing types they want to encourage, or for affordable housing.

Image: Chatham Journal

consider residential parking flexibility
Consider residential parking flexibility
  • Parking adds to the cost of housing - an expensive use of land because of how much space it takes up and its low value
  • Update outdated parking standards
    • Waive parking requirements for mixed use properties when commercial and residential demand peaks at different times of day
    • Reduce parking requirements for projects near transit, near mixed uses, and where on-street parking is available

Image: VPIC Implementation Manual

housing replacement retention requirements
Housing replacement/retention requirements
  • For towns looking to protect its housing stock, it can require that housing be replaced when units are torn down
  • Burlington has housing replacement requirements included in their Inclusionary Zoning ordinances (Part 2)
create local rental codes or local enforcement of state codes
Create local rental codes, or local enforcement of state codes
  • Vermont’s rental housing codes promote safe and healthy living conditions and are compiled on the Vermont Rental Housing Codes website, with information specifically for municipalities.
  • Some towns create local codes and registries to raise the bar
  • Other towns use the state’s policies but have created local procedure for inspections or enforcement
adopt on the record review
Adopt “on the record” review
  • Appeals of municipal decisions add significant time and expense to housing projects
  • “On the record” review saves time when proposing a new housing development because testimony and findings from lower judicial bodies (Development Review Boards, Zoning Boards, etc.) are accepted by the courts without re-arguing the same points - instead the court builds on that knowledge
  • About a dozen Vermont municipalities have adopted this model
adopt inclusionary zoning iz
Adopt Inclusionary Zoning (IZ)
  • IZ requires a proportion of new housing to be affordable
  • Burlington is the only Vermont city with IZ
    • Progressive model with a sliding scale of affordable units required based on price of market rate housing
  • Takes considerable political will to pass
www housingdata org

For more information…