City also adopts measure to create housing trust fund
(St. Charles) … The City
Charles, a western suburb of
, adopted an
inclusionary zoning ordinance on Feb. 4, joining a handful of local
municipalities taking concrete steps to address the metropolitan region’s
affordable housing crunch.
requires residential developers to set aside a certain percentage of homes in a
development to be priced as affordable. The City also approved legislation
enabling the creation of a housing trust fund, a flexible, locally run pool that
will support actions that preserve and create affordable homes in the community,
including financing new affordable homes, assisting homebuyers, and upgrading
Chicago and two northern
Forest, have similar laws on the books.
took a unique approach to the development of its
inclusionary zoning ordinance.
“The St. Charles Housing
Commission worked hard to develop an inclusionary zoning ordinance that makes
sense within the local housing market,” said St. Charles Mayor Donald DeWitte.
“The commission met with the school and park districts, local developers, and
other real estate professionals to craft a policy that will create new homes and
send a message to the development community that
wants housing for our
While most communities with
inclusionary zoning require a flat percentage for all qualified developments,
St. Charles’ inclusionary zoning ordinance is ”tiered,” requiring developments
of different sizes to set aside different percentages of affordable homes.
Developers can opt to pay an in lieu fee of $140,000 per unit, rather than build
all or some of the units, depending on the size of the development. Fees would
be paid to the housing trust fund.
The housing commission tapped real estate consultant
S.B. Friedman & Company to analyze how the proposed ordinance would affect
developers’ costs and profits. The study concluded that most developers would
choose to build the homes on site, rather than to pay the
fee; and that
cost offsets built into the ordinance (density bonus, fee waivers, etc.) would
make the construction of affordable homes financially viable for most
Mayor DeWitte, St.
Penny, and the St. Charles
Housing Commission, chaired by
resident and affordable housing developer Cindy
Holler, led the charge to make these two pieces of legislation a reality. Local
leaders began working with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) to develop a
housing action plan in 2003. The city is eager to address the decreasing supply
of housing for moderate-income workers, a negative consequence of
’ strong local
housing market and desirable location. Between 2000 and 2005, the median price
of a home in
rose by 38 percent, while the median household
income increased by only 9 percent.
zoning was under consideration by the City
Charles, the city already had some success
with developers contributing funds for affordable housing. These funds provide
the core of the housing trust fund to address future housing needs.
In the First Street Redevelopment, the City’s downtown
mixed-use project, the developer constructed 16 affordable apartments before the
ordinance went into effect.
“St. Charles’ decision
is monumental,” said MPC Vice President of Community
Snyderman. ”The city is one of a growing number
of job-rich, affluent communities in metropolitan Chicago that understands the
region needs to plan for a mix of housing options near jobs to continue to be an
attractive place to live and do businesses.”
these policies are still just part of the equation
Charles. The St. Charles Housing Commission
plans to reach out to employers to ask them to invest in affordable housing for
their workers; partner with
around new housing programs; and
review existing building codes to ensure they are not cost prohibitive to
affordable housing construction.
For more information about the inclusionary zoning
ordinance, housing trust fund, or housing action plan, please contact Bob Hupp,
Director of Planning, City of St. Charles, 630.377.4443 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mandy Burrell Booth, Asst.
Communications Director, Metropolitan Planning Council, 312.863.6018,
773.640.1206 (cell) or email@example.com