to: Mayor and Town Council
Zoning Task Force Co-Chairs, Council Member Sally Greene and
Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt
date: November 10, 2008
The purpose of this memorandum is to update the Council on the status of the development of an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.
The attached resolution would authorize the use of the budgeted funds designated for consulting services to hire a University of North Carolina (UNC) faculty member to participate in an Affordable Housing Impact Study project.
On January 22, 2007, the Council adopted a resolution to establish a process for developing an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. The Council also enacted an ordinance to allocate funds to hire a consultant to prepare a draft Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.
Subsequently, the Town entered into a Performance Agreement with the consulting firm of White and Smith, LLC to develop an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance consistent with the elements proposed by the Inclusionary Zoning Task Force. The consultant prepared a draft ordinance that was reviewed by the Task Force and considered to be incomplete and in need of additional analysis.
On March 17, 2008, the Council authorized us to work with the Manager to identify and enter into a contract for services with a consultant to complete an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance according to principles outlined by the Inclusionary Zoning Task Force.
In April, 2008, we met with the consulting firm of Clarion Associates about the possibility of hiring them to complete the ordinance. The response was favorable, but we were advised by an attorney with Clarion Associates that an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance is strengthened from a legal standpoint if it is coupled with an impact study that can demonstrate a nexus between new development and the need for the affordable housing proposed to be required.
We agreed that such a study would strengthen the justification for the ordinance and authorized the staff to contact UNC faculty to propose the development of an Affordable Housing Impact Study as a research project for a class. This was done, and Dr. Roberto Quercia, Professor and Director of the Center for Community Capital at the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning, agreed to work with the graduate students enrolled in his Fall Workshop to develop the study.
In order to ensure that the student project could be used by the Town to support its Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, Dr. Quercia recommended that the Town hire Dr. Spencer M. Cowan, Senior Research Associate at the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Dr. Cowan is an attorney and a Ph.D. who is familiar with the legal requirements for land use regulations and has performed similar impact studies in the past. He has agreed to participate in the project for a fee of $5,000.
We believe that Dr. Cowan’s expertise and credentials will support the Affordable Housing Impact Study and, in turn, strengthen the Town’s justification for an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. Therefore, we recommend that the Council authorize the use of the budgeted funds designated for consulting services to hire Dr. Cowan at a cost not to exceed $5,000.
We recommend that the Council adopt the attached resolution authorizing the use of the budgeted funds designated for consulting services to hire Dr. Cowan at a cost not to exceed $5,000 to participate in the Affordable Housing Impact Study project that will be used to demonstrate justification for the Town’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance based on the connection between new development and the demand for affordable housing.