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Miami-Dade Inclusionary Housing Task Force Issues Report

The following are the recommendations of the Miami-Dade County Inclusionary Housing Task Force. The Task Force's mission was to craft a "inclusionary housing" policy proposal for Miami-Dade County. It is not clear when the County Commission will up this matter. This is probably the most important housing policy issue in recent history that Miami Dade has considered.


Miami-Dade County Proposed Moderately
Priced Housing Program


BACKGROUND
  • There is a large need for low- and moderate-income housing in Miami-Dade County.
  • A great portion of this can be termed "work force" housing; specifically middle income.
  • This type of housing is currently not well distributed throughout the County and this program would help to improve that situation.
  • The private building industry is best equipped by virtue of experience and capability of providing moderately priced housing .
  • Well structured programs featuring both requirements and incentives have shown to be effective in helping to overcome these problems; therefore, the Board of County Commissioners intend to establish a Moderately Priced Housing Program (MPHP).
  • This type of program, which results in mixed income neighborhoods has been shown to have other positive social and economic effects.
  • As part of the Housing, Community and Economic Development portion of the Consolidated Planning Process policies, the Board of County Commissioners has placed emphasis on mixed income affordable housing projects and their dispersal throughout the County rather than concentrations in certain areas.
PROGRAM ELEMENTS
  • This program in Miami-Dade County applies to all new residential developments above a density of 5 units/acre and containing twenty (20) or more units. .
  • The program should be applied initially to the unincorporated area., Appropriate efforts should be made to bring the existing incorporated areas into the program as soon as possible.
  • The exact number of affordable units required and density bonus granted will be determined by the location of the development, type of housing units proposed, and site plan considerations and will vary from 6 percent to 24 percent affordable units and 10 percent to 50 percent density bonus.
  • Unless a zoning district boundary change or other zoning request involving a change of use is required, a development with affordable units included under the provisions of this program will be administratively approved.
  • For administrative approval, utilizing development incentives, the proposed development would have to be in compliance with the zoning and site plan criteria for the zoning district in which the subject property is located. In this instance, review of the administrative decision shall be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners.
  • If the proposed development requires approval of any district boundary change, variance, special exception, unusual use, new use requiring public hearing or modification or deletion of provision of a covenant or deed restriction accepted or approved at public hearing, then any such request involving a change of use of the subject property, including such zoning relief as shall be necessary to satisfy the criteria of the moderately priced housing program, as well as the underlying development proposal, shall be approved by the Board of County Commissioners in a direct application. Specific amendments to the zoning procedures code will be required to effectuate this. Subsequent review shall be in the circuit court. Zoning relief that does not involve a change of use of the subject property may be reviewed and approved administratively subject to review on appeal by the Board of County Commissioners. Again, specific amendment to existing zoning procedures to effectuate this provision would be required.
  • The land use element of the comprehensive development master plan (CDMP) must be amended to establish a floor density tied to a certain percentage (to be defined later) to the maximum allowed in the zoning district or CDMP category for development proceeding under the moderately priced housing program.
  • The program's intent is to provide affordable owner or rental housing to households with incomes up to 95 percent of the countywide median family income (MFI).
  • Due to cost constraints on providing an adequate housing unit, the effective income floor is 50-60 percent of MFI. Below this, direct subsidies are required.
  • The County Manager will establish detailed standards of eligibility for the Program within administrative rules, subject to Board of County Commissioners approval.
  • Development under the moderately priced housing program would be eligible for impact fee exemptions for affordable housing under existing impact fee programs.
  • Certain exemptions from this program and alternative ways of complying with its provisions will be established by the County Manager subject to Board of County Commissioners approval. However, in so doing, the Manager will be guided by the foremost objective of the Program which is to provide more moderately priced housing which is also more dispersed throughout the County.
  • If a buyout option is provided for, accumulated funds must be used for housing for low income households in the infill area or other targeted location.
  • The County and designated not-for-profit affordable housing developers will be eligible to purchase some of the units constructed under terms and conditions designed to reach low and very low income households.
  • In order to effectively implement and operate this Program, the County Manager, assisted by selected County department heads, will develop and issue administrative rules and procedures covering such topics as resale and subleasing of units, project phasing, site plan requirements, design guidelines, recording of covenants, waiver of requirements, unit specifications, selection process for applicants, identification and responsibilities of the administering departments, and any other matters pertinent to proper functioning of the Program subject to Board of County Commissioners' approval

Commentary: South Florida Community Development Coalition

While there are real positive aspects of the proposal, there remains a number of potential weaknesses that threaten to undermine the stated goals of: 1) creating new units of affordable housing and 2) creating a new distributional framework where affordable units are produced in areas that have little or no affordable housing. The areas of concern are (from the Coalition and other parties who've given input):
  • The County Manager, or a designated administrative agency/representative, needs to be empowered to establish the prices/rents of the set aside affordable units. Clear guidelines on affordability targets need to be in place that are not ambiguous nor left to the discretion of the developer.
  • The second to last bullet point designates that "some of the units constructed under terms and conditions (for the inclusionary housing program)..." are eligible for purchase by nonprofits or the County, so to reach the low/very low income population. This needs clarification into what percent will be eligible.
  • The program needs to apply not only to new developments, but redevelopment and rehabilitation projects. As Miami-Dade runs out of available land for new development (i.e.. greenfields); all development will eventually turn towards redevelopment and rehab. Here the policy will act as a tool for the preservation of affordable housing (think South Beach as an example of this).
  • Finally, for the program to be a true success, it needs to make every possible effort to apply to ALL of Miami-Dade County, including incorporated cities. For this just to be limited to unincorporated Miami-Dade severely curtails its effectiveness. Miami-Dade County Commissioners have the power to apply this zoning/land-use policy countywide, but rarely have used that power.