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As Part of the #36000by2025 Goal, Mayor Bowser Announces Zoning Proposal to Create More Affordable Housing

Friday, January 3, 2020
Proposal to Expand Inclusionary Zoning Aims to Create More Affordable Units Through Additional Density

(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of the effort to build 36,000 new homes by 2025, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Office on Planning proposed a bold new application to a decade-old program that would establish an increased Inclusionary Zoning requirement of up to 20% of residential gross floor area when additional residential density is requested through a zoning map change.

“Expanded Inclusionary Zoning is a solution that reflects DC values – a solution that will not only yield more affordable homes, but more and better opportunities for the residents in those homes,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know we need 36,000 new homes by 2025, which is just around the corner. We urge the Zoning Commission to take this up as soon as possible.”

Inclusionary zoning requires residential projects with 10 units or more to provide 8-11% of its residential square footage as affordable housing. In order to support this affordability, zoning allows developers to build a larger building than would normally be allowed for that particular zone. Expanded Inclusionary Zoning (aka “IZ Plus”) would increase this scale to require 10-20% affordable housing for changes to the zoning map that provide greater density. The Office of Planning will file the program proposal with the Zoning Commission for consideration and public comment this winter.

“IZ Plus would create more affordable units where additional density is granted, which is often in high opportunity areas,” said Andrew Trueblood, Director of the DC Office of Planning. “Not only does it align with the Mayor’s bold housing goals for 2025, but also with her draft Comprehensive Plan proposal which calls for more housing and more equitable housing by leveraging of our land use tools.”

This effort builds on the momentum of Mayor Bowser’s bold goal of building 36,000 new homes, including 12,000 homes affordable to low-income residents, by 2025. In October, the Mayor set housing targets by neighborhood through her Housing Equity Report, making DC the first city in the nation to set explicit neighborhood goals aimed at combatting the history of racially-discriminatory housing policies. The report provides an analysis of current affordable housing distribution and proposes specific targets by planning area. The report and more information can be found at housing.dc.gov.

The Comp Plan is a high-level guiding document that sets a positive, long-term vision for the District, through the lens of its physical growth and change. It is divided into 25 elements and two maps, the Future Land Use Map and the Generalized Policy Map. Housing is a critical theme of the proposed Comp Plan and achieving the Mayor’s bold goals will require changes being proposed to the text and maps. Specifically, through proposed land use changes in the Future Land Use Map, the District would create additional 15% capacity for development and housing.

The public can provide comments on the Comp Plan through January 10, 2020. The Administration has prioritized ANC feedback during this public review period by providing an extended comment period through February 14, 2020. You can learn more at plandc.dc.gov.

The public is also invited to join Mayor Bowser and DC housing agency leadership at “New Year, New Housing” on January 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for a preview of 2020 efforts toward Mayor Bowser’s #36000by2025 housing goals. Additional information about this event is available at: https://NewYearNewHousing.eventbrite.com.