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Strategy-of-the-Month Club: Density Bonuses to Increase the Affordable Housing Supply
Posted Date: June 19, 2007

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Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Strategy-of-the-Month Club
 
June 2007
 
It's simple arithmetic that large lot sizes result in lower
densities, which in turn lead to increased housing costs and
decreased availability of affordable housing. In adopting
policies that promote higher densities, local jurisdictions can
help increase the supply of workforce housing, reduce regional
traffic congestion, and save on public service and infrastructure
costs. The city of Stamford, Connecticut is looking to a recently
approved high-density residential development to accomplish
just that.
 
Earlier this year, Stamford approved a proposal to convert a
1968 five-story office building into a 55-unit apartment
complex. The plan required a zone change from a minimum
floor area of 800 square feet per unit, to 600 square feet per
unit. Additionally, the developer requested a density bonus.
The Stamford Zoning Board, which currently does not require
the inclusion of affordable units in conversion projects,
approved their request, provided that the developer set aside
15 percent of the units for affordable housing. The apartments,
scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2008, will be
available to rent for $1,000 to $1,100 per month and range in
size from 413 to 570 square feet.
 
While a 55-unit complex may not solve all of a community's
housing problems, sometimes, a carefully considered project
that proves successful in practice can open the door to
additional development later on, and encourage local planning
and zoning officials to try approaches that diverge - perhaps
significantly - from "standard operating procedure." For
developers on Connecticut's Gold Coast, one open door may
let in a lot of fresh air.
 
Additional information on this project can be found
at http://www.huduser.gov/rbc/search/rbcdetails.asp?DocId=1546.
 
We hope this information proves useful to you in your efforts to
grow your region's affordable housing stock. If you have
regulatory reform strategies or resources that you'd like to
share, send us an email at rbcsubmit@huduser.gov, call us at
1-800-245-2691 (option 4), or visit our website
at www.regbarriers.org.
 
Feel free to forward this message to anyone who is working to
reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing.
 
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