In Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte banned inclusionary zoning. But what does that mean?
What is inclusionary zoning in Montana – and why the ban? Was it working? And what can cities do to encourage affordable housing?
What is Inclusionary Zoning?
The Upside of Inclusionary Zoning
…And The Downside
Was Inclusionary Zoning Working in Montana?
Density bonuses for including affordable housing. Density bonuses allow developers to spread land and development costs over a larger number of units. This decreases costs while preserving margins needed to satisfy lenders and investors.
Community investment in Class B&C properties. Such investment helps preserve affordable housing. New construction costs have risen to a point where it is not possible to build market rate housing for households below the median income. Partnerships to buy older properties and maintain their affordability is a simple method.
Down payment help programs. Programs like these offer forgivable down payment loans to buyers at specific income levels. As an example, Missoula County allocated $90k for down payments for nine families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
Emergency cash payments. Many costly and disruptive eviction proceedings are for amounts under $1000. Preventing tenants from losing their homes helps to preserve affordable housing. This is especially true in the wake of 2020’s economic turmoil.
Keeping inventory available. Limitations for short-term rentals like Airbnb help keep units in the rental market.
Focusing on other factors that keep locals from purchasing housing. Many communities have begun discouraging low-wage jobs. That’s done by eliminating economic development incentives for employers paying low wages.