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Inclusionary Zoning and Affordable Housing

Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is a land use technique for developing diverse mixed-income communities by requiring each new residential development make a percentage of the new units affordable to targeted incomes. It often lets developers build more units through a “density bonus” along with other incentives to help the program operate better.

IZ in the District began with a set of public hearings held by the Zoning Commission starting in 2005. The Zoning Commission divided the hearing process into three parts covering 1) the design of program, 2) where it would apply in the District, and 3) how IZ requirements would interact with existing zoning overlays. The zoning regulations resulting from that public hearing process can be found on the Office of Zoning’s website. At roughly the same time, the Council of the District of Columbia passed both the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital and the Inclusionary Zoning Act of 2006, which give policy guidance and empowers the Mayor to administer the program.

Expanded Inclusionary Zoning (IZ+)

On January 3, 2020, the Office of Planning (OP) filed a setdown report with the Office of Zoning (OZ) that served as a petition for a proposed concept to expand the existing IZ requirements. The petition requested the Zoning Commission (ZC) explore a concept to create higher affordable housing set-aside requirements for certain map amendments. The concept is referenced as “Expanded IZ” but it also known as “IZ+”. To access additional information regarding the Expanded IZ concept select the following link to the ZC 20-02 case record: https://app.dcoz.dc.gov/CaseReport/CaseReportPage.aspx?case_id=20-02

On July 15, 2020, OP hosted a virtual public roundtable to garner feedback on the proposed Expanded IZ concept. OP refined the proposed concept and draft text informed by the roundtable and submitted it to the ZC for a public hearing. To access a recording of the virtual public roundtable please select the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwvJ8TKmyFM&feature=youtu.be.

On November 16, the ZC held a public hearing where it voted unanimously to take proposed action to approve Expanded IZ . OP worked with residents and stakeholders on the IZ+ proposal for final action. The ZC also accepted comments on IZ+ through December 27, 2020. Please refer to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in the DC Register for more information on how to submit comments.

On January 28, 2021, the Zoning Commission accepted the revised IZ+ proposal and advertised it for public comment, ultimately taking final action on March 12, 2021.

Expanded Inclusionary Zoning XL (IZ-XL)

As OP continues to find new ways to meet Mayor Bowser’s challenge to produce more affordable housing in a more equitable way across the District, OP has proposed to further expand IZ through the IZ-XL concept. On January 28, 2021, the Zoning Commission set IZ-XL Phase1 down for a public hearing, expected in April 2021. The proposed IZ-XL Phase 1 text amendments will: 

  • Expand the regular IZ program to apply to the following exempt zones:
    • R-3 in the Anacostia Historic District;
    • RA-5 and RA-10 (Dupont Circle);
    • CG-1;
    • MU-13 in the Georgetown Historic District;
    • MU-27 (Naval Observatory); and
    • NC-6 (Eighth Street) in the Capitol Hill Historic District. and will
  • Increase the height threshold from 50 ft to 85 ft as it relates to type of construction and the corresponding regular IZ set-side requirement.


OP in its role of providing reports and recommendations to the ZC is the primary agency responsible for the review, research and resulting design of the program. 

OP works closely with our sister agencies Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Zoning Administrator within the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) who are charged with Implementation and administration of the program.

For more information on the District’s Inclusionary Zoning Affordable Housing Program visit DHCD’s website.

For Zoning and Project Approval of a Residential Development with IZ requirements contact:
Matt LeGrant, Zoning Administrator
DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Phone: (202) 442-4576
Zoning Administrator’s Website

For Potential Tenants, Owners and Ongoing IZ Unit Management Contact:
Marshall Cusaac, Housing Regulations Specialist
DC Department of Housing and Community Development
Phone: (202) 442-4327

View more information at the Affordable Housing Locator.