April 23, 2018
As reported on
on April 11, 2018, the Philadelphia City Council proposed legislation to help fund affordable housing projects in the city. If passed, as much as $22 million will be raised annually for affordable housing construction.
Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez announced their intention to introduce a bill that would require residential and nonresidential builders (for profit and not-for-profit) to pay a 1% tax on all new construction that is eligible for the 10-year tax abatement. In addition, an expansion of zoning bonuses was announced. If passed, qualified developers would have the opportunity to build taller buildings. Builders would have to make certain concessions, such as voluntarily choosing to designate 10% of units in new residential buildings for affordable housing, to qualify.
The new legislation replaces the inclusionary zoning bill that Quiñones-Sánchez previously endorsed. That bill would have required developers to offer 10% of their units at substantially reduced prices in certain neighborhoods in exchange for zoning bonuses. Most City Council members, developers, neighborhood groups, and trade groups, including the Building Industry Association (BIA), opposed the originally proposed bill. The revised legislation package is the result of negotiations between City Council members and developers.
Even though the proposed legislation has a lot of support, including from BIA, there is no guarantee that it will pass. Many neighborhood groups continue to oppose the zoning bonus rewards.
Revenue generated from the 1% tax will be put into a separate fund within the Housing Trust Fund. Non-profit and for-profit developers could use the funds to build affordable housing. The money will also be used to fund a down-payment assistance program that the City Council plans to establish.
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