While we have a belief that the market should be allowed to build housing, we are a non-partisan group. Our goal is to keep Bend affordable.
Interestingly enough, last week the Obama administration released a “Housing Development Toolkit“, and a few days ago, the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released a report “Economical Rental Housing by Design for Communities That Work”
Despite being on opposite ends of the political spectrum, the reports are remarkably similar in their policy recommendations.
The Obama administration’s suggestions:
- Establishing by-right development
- Taxing vacant land or donate it to non-profit developers
- Streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines
- Eliminate off-street parking requirements
- Allowing accessory dwelling units
- Establishing density bonuses
- Enacting high-density and multifamily zoning
- Employing inclusionary zoning
- Establishing development tax or value capture incentives
- Using property tax abatements
The AEI’s recommendations are:
- Find that increasing the supply of market-rate economic housing by design is in the public interest
- Declare that land use and building ordinances are to be liberally and flexibly construed to increase the supply of market-rate, economical housing so long as construction will not be adverse to the public health, safety, or welfare.
- Direct staff, to the maximum extend feasible, to assist in accomodating market-rate economical housing.
- Reduce parking requirements for economical rental housing developments to recognize reduced dependence on cars.
- Use density bonuses for economical rental housing developments.
- Where appropriate, provide relief from otherwise applicable building height restrictions for economical rental housing developments.
- Consider an equalized approach to density (regulate square feet per acre, not units per acre). For example, using a static density limit of 10 units per acre encourages larger units and higher rents, whereas allowing 12,000 square feet per acre would allow developers to produce 20 units at 600 square feet instead of 10 units at 1,200 square feet.
- Expedite or fast track planning, zoning, PUD, plan and architectural review, permitting, and variance approvals for economical rental housing developments.
- Allow just-in-time inspections for economical rental housing developments. Implement a process for economical housing whereby a code or building inspection request by, say, 10:00 AM is fulfilled the same day.
- Reduce fees to recognize the public-mission value of providing economical rental housing.
- Direct staff to exercise flexiblity and expedite appeals, whenever literal code requirements are burdensome and a substantially equivalent approach is more economical, for economical rental housing developments.
The latter are more focused on rental housing, but a lot of the ideas are the same: let developers construct dense housing, because it’s cheaper. Don’t require X number of parking spots per unit. Speed up and simplify the regulatory process.
Across the board, from liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias in The Rent Is Too Damn High: What To Do About It, And Why It Matters More Than You Think to more libertarian leaning economists, the policy recommendations are strikingly similar: “Legalize Cities”.