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Policy and governance » Inclusionary zoning

Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Lake Forest, Lake County

The policy requires at least 15 percent of the total number of homes in a covered development of over five units to be affordable.


To attract, encourage and promote affordable housing within the city and extend affordable housing opportunities to seniors and other Lake Forest residents.


Seniors and other Lake Forest families earning 120 percent or below AMI, which was $86,880 for a family of four in 2014, for home ownership; and 80 percent or below AMI, which was $57,900 for a family of four in 2014, for rental homes.


The ordinance provides for fee waivers and a density bonus to offset the cost of compliance. There is no direct funding attached to the policy.


About 10 affordable units have been created since the ordinance was adopted. Most of the units have been acquisitions of single-family homes through the City’s land trust, which are sold to income-qualified buyers and must remain affordable to future buyers.

Lessons learned

To develop the policy, the City worked with regional nonprofits that have expertise in regional and national best practices. A deliberate, incremental policy development process minimized public opposition and resulted in successful implementation of the ordinance.

Policy background

For more than a decade, Lake Forest has experienced a steady loss of affordability in its housing market. In 2003, the average sale price of a home in the city exceeded $1 million. As an extension of the Affordable Housing Plan adopted by its City Council in March 2005, the Lake Forest Plan Commission proposed an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to require developers of new residential developments and conversion properties to provide affordable homes along with homes at market prices. The City Council approved the ordinance in December 2005.

How it works

The policy requires at least 15 percent of the total number of homes in a covered development of over five units to be affordable. Covered developments include:

  • New residential construction or new mixed-use construction with a residential component;
  • Developments consisting of more than 50 percent reconstruction of the total square footage of an existing multifamily residential structure that will increase the number of units;
  • A development that changes the use of an existing structure from non-residential to residential; and
  • Conversion of rental homes to condominium homes.

The ordinance provides for fee waivers for inspection, sewer and water tap-on, building permit, application, plan review, demolition permit, impact and all other development fees imposed by the City as they apply to the affordable units. In addition, covered properties are eligible for density bonuses.

Developers may propose, and the City Council may approve, alternatives to the inclusion of affordable housing on the site of the covered development.

The median home value in Lake Forest in 2014 was $783,400. Though substantially less than 10 years ago, home values are beginning to show signs of recovery. The City’s inclusionary housing ordinance will continue to serve as an important source of affordable housing moving forward.


Department of Community Development, City of Lake Forest
847-810-3503, www.cityoflakeforest.com

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