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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
PROPOSED INCLUSIONARY ZONING PROGRAM
The "Workforce Housing Ordinance"
WHAT IS PROPOSED

CLICK HERE to download a Word file containing a copy of the proposed Workforce Housing Ordinance
  • On November 15, 2005 the Miami-Dade County Commission adopted on first reading a proposed ordinance.  Final adoption will occur upon approval after a second reading. As of mid-December 2005 it was not clear when that second vote will be taken.
  • The proposed Ordinance would require developers of larger residential projects to make some of their units "affordable" as a precondition to getting a building permit.
  • It would apply only to unincorporated portions of the County.
  • The term "affordable" is defined to mean housing affordable for persons earning less than approximately $63,000 per year.
  • Various incentives are offered to developers such as density bonuses.
  • Developers would have the option of "buying out" by paying a fee into a new County managed "workforce housing trust fund".  
OUR SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT


The proposed Workforce Housing Ordinance is long overdue.  Having said that, there are 4 areas that the Coalition would like the Commissioners to be aware of that could improve the proposal:

1.  THE INCLUSIONARY HOUSING POLICY NEEDS TO BE VIEWED AS A REGIONAL ISSUE AND SHOULD APPLY TOWARDS ALL OF MIAMI-DADE, INCLUDING INCORPORATED COMMUNITIES.  

Having the policy apply only to unincorporated Miami-Dade will defeat the regional goal of the Inclusionary Housing proposal.  A principle objective of the proposed policy is to promote the market rate production of affordable, integrated housing and serve as a vehicle for economic integration and poverty deconcentration.  Absent this, the Commission should consider engaging the League of Cities and incorporated cities to assist in crafting corresponding legislation.

2.  THE TARGETED INCOME GROUPS ARE TOO HIGH AND A SET-ASIDE FOR LOWER-INCOME GROUPS IS NEEDED.

 The proposal targets between 65% to 140% of AMI.  This seems high and could actually be beyond the target group that it's designed to help (starting salaries for teachers and police range between 35K to 40K).  Targeting between 45% and 120% of AMI would serve a better population group that is truly housing burdened.  Also, the program requires that a between 20 and 30% of new units be earmarked as affordable in new developments.  To reach the population lower than 65% of AMI, we should allow MDHA to be allowed to purchase a certain percent of the affordable units.    For example, Miami Dade Housing Agency (or MDHA approved non-profits) should, as is the case in Montgomery County, MD., have first right of refusal for purchasing say one-third of affordable set aside units with the understanding they be rented or sold to low to very-low income households.  We should strive to have a policy that helps not only police officers and teachers, but also hospital orderlies, nursing home workers, school janitors, and store clerks. This will have the effect of "reaching" those at the lower income levels.

3.  MAINTENANCE OF AFFORDABILITY

To ensure that units are maintained as affordable and to lessen the administrative burden, the County should consider mortgage restrictions as well as deed restrictions to ensure maintenance of affordability.  Also see next bullet regarding resell restrictions.

4.  ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN 

Finally, the proposal is extremely ambitious and with 37 pages of rules, regulations and policies. We are concerned whether it would be difficult for MDHA to administer this program easily and developers to clearly understand it as well as abide by it.  As a general philosophy, we believe simple and direct policies work best in practice.  Also, there are areas of the proposal that seem contradictory or are unclear.
  • For instance on page 30; on section D, 1-b (Shared Equity Agreement Build-up.  Does this mean that if there is no subsidy,  there is no equity agreement?)
  • On page 26, Workforce Housing Unit sales price calculation was unclear.

These comments were drafted for the Coalition by John Ise