City officials’ efforts to massage the affordable housing ordinance — also called the inclusionary housing ordinance — advanced another step Tuesday, winning the recommendation of the St. Charles Plan Commission.
The commission’s recommendation puts the proposed revisions to the ordinance one step closer to formal adoption by the St. Charles City Council, which first must review the changes as the City Council Planning and Development Committee.
The revisions were presented by St. Charles Planner Matthew O’Rourke on behalf of the city’s Community Development Department, and represent months of talks among the city’s Housing Commission, the City Council Planning and Development Committee. The talks were prompted in part by several different development proposals that some believe were stymied by a lack of flexibility regarding the city’s affordable requirements given the economic conditions today.
The city adopted the ordinance to ensure it would maintain control after the state issued a mandate requiring communities to ensure that at least 10 percent of the housing stock is classified as affordable. Communities that fail to meet the mandate face a potential state takeover of their planning and development efforts to ensure compliance with the law.
In St. Charles, a little more than 18 percent of the housing stock is considered affordable.
The affordable housing ordinance gives developers the option of ensuring that a percentage of the housing units they build are considered affordable. The St. Charles Housing Commission has wanted to allow developers some flexibility in meeting those obligations, so the city Community Development Department earlier this year offered some amendments to the affordable housing ordinance to set the process for allowing variances, or exceptions to the ordinance.
Essentially, the ordinance amendments that won the Plan Commission’s recommendation on Tuesday do not allow for deviations from the affordable housing ordinance for planned unit developments. The second revision sets up the processes and spells out some of the alternatives when those deviations are allowed.
- Sept. 19, 2012: St. Charles Seeks Affordable Housing Balance
- June 15, 2012: City Takes Snapshot of Affordable Housing