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Bowser Administration Effort to Increase Affordable Housing Production through Inclusionary Zoning Approved by Zoning Commission

Friday, March 12, 2021

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Zoning Commission has taken final action to approve Expanded Inclusionary Zoning (IZ+) which is a concept proposed by the DC Office of Planning (OP) to increase affordable housing produced through zoning map amendments across the District, and particularly in areas proposed for change on the Future Land Use Map in Mayor Bowser’s proposed Comprehensive Plan update.

“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,” said Andrew Trueblood, Director of OP. “IZ+ is an important tool to complement the changes in the proposed Comp Plan update and help get more affordable units, especially in high-cost areas.”

Over the past year, OP worked with residents and stakeholders to develop and refine the proposed concept, which expands existing IZ requirements of the Zoning Regulations to create higher affordable housing set-aside requirements for certain zoning map amendments (upzonings). In November, the Zoning Commission voted unanimously to take proposed action to approve IZ+. After holding a public comment period, the Zoning Commission took final action on March 11, 2021.

Since the first IZ home became available in 2011, the program has created over 1,200 affordable units. The IZ units are at 50%, 60% and 80% median family income (MFI), are in all 8 wards, and are in mixed-income buildings. The program has been critical for production of affordable housing in high-cost and high-opportunity areas of the District.

The IZ team at the Department of Housing and Community Development has worked closely with the Office of Planning, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to continually improve the program, resulting in shorter time periods before individuals selected in the random lottery are able to move in. DHCD continues to work to improve the process for developers and residents, to make the process as quick and efficient as possible, while still ensuring that the people living in the IZ units meet the requirements.

In further support of Mayor Bowser’s housing equity goals and vision for creating 36,000 new housing units, with 12,000 affordable, OP has proposed additional expansions of the IZ program that will be reviewed by the Zoning Commission later this year. The proposed IZ-XL Phase 1 amendments will expand the regular IZ program to apply to certain exempt zones and 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. Proposed IZ-XL Phase 2 amendments will apply the regular IZ program to the conversion of non-residential buildings to residential buildings.  

For more information on IZ+, please visit planning.dc.gov/inclusionaryzoning. For more information about DC Office of Planning, visit our home page at planning.dc.gov.