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City Club of Eugene: Will Inclusionary Zoning Help Solve Eugene's Housing Affordability Crisis?

Recorded on: December 2, 2016

Air Date: December 5th, 2016

Coordinator: Jon Belcher

Housing in Eugene is becoming less and less affordable, even for those who are employed. There is a shortage of reasonably priced housing units in Eugene. This mirrors an escalation in rental rates and cost of buying a home in many cities on the west coast. Portland is one of the cities leading the nation in this housing shortage. Several strategies have been suggested to address the issue. One of the most common is Inclusionary Zoning. That strategy uses zoning codes to require developers to include below-market rate rental apartments or for-sale houses as part of multi-unit developments. Incentives are often offered to developers to soften the financial impact of inclusionary zoning on housing projects.

Oregon was one of two states outlawing cities and counties from enacting inclusionary zoning until SB 1533 was passed in the 2016 Oregon Legislature and went into effect last June. Inclusionary zoning has yet to be implemented in Eugene or any other Oregon city. There are questions of whether and how to use this new tool to provide affordable housing.

The inclusionary zoning provisions in SB 1533 allow cities or counties to adopt zoning and other code provisions that impose certain conditions for approval of building permits that would require up to 10 percent or 20 percent of units in a multifamily development project be dedicated for lower income home buyers or renters.

Ms. Juntunen will describe Oregon’s new inclusionary zoning provisions, with a focus on how inclusionary policies interact with market-rate housing production, and the need to carefully calibrate development incentives that typically accompany inclusionary policies to avoid unintended market impacts that could exacerbate the local housing shortage. She will discuss opportunities and challenges the law provides, including the potential of establishing a construction excise tax that governments can use to fund inclusionary zoning and other types of housing programs.

Mr. VanLandingham will discuss the law and how these statewide policies might be implemented locally to help stimulate the construction of additional affordable housing. He is a very active, longtime spokesperson for low-income housing and housing affordability issues. He is currently a member of the intergovernmental Housing Policy Board. The Housing Policy Board makes policy and funding recommendations to Eugene, Springfield and Lane County governments on how to increase the availability of affordable housing for low and very low income families and individuals in Lane County.

The First Questioner will be Chris Wig, local housing affordability advocate.

Biographical information:

Lorelei Juntunen has a B.A. in English and Global Studies from Pacific Lutheran University and M.A.s in Public Administration and Regional Planning, and Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. She is a project director and partner in ECONorthwest. ECONorthwest provides professional economics, planning, and financial consulting services for clients throughout the United States. Lorelei specializes in land use and redevelopment finance, policy, and planning. She has worked with clients throughout the Pacific Northwest and across the country to identify creative and coordinated public-private funding strategies for projects ranging from major infrastructure investments to neighborhood-scale mixed-use development.   She recently co-authored the report titled The Economics of Inclusionary Zoning, a national study for the Urban Land institute and has lectured on SB1533 throughout the State.

John VanLandingham received his law degree from the University of Oregon.  He is a member of the Eugene Housing Policy Board.  He has also served twelve years each as Eugene Planning Commissioner and as a director of the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission. He was chair of LCDC for seven years.  He currently is a Staff Attorney at Lane County Legal Aid.

copyright, KLCC 2016

Born and raised in Eugene, Anni started at KLCC in 2000 as a reporter and co-host of Northwest Passage. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Anni moved to New York City. She worked in education for several years before returning to her true love, journalism. Anni co-founded and co-hosted Dailysonic, a narrative-based news podcast. She interned at WNYC's On The Media, then becoming WNYC's assistant producer of Morning Edition.
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