December 6, 2021

D.C. Office of Attorney General Proposes 4 Text Amendments to Increase City's Affordable Housing

Holland & Knight Alert
Christine M. Shiker | Kyrus Lamont Freeman | Dennis Russell Hughes | Leila Marie Jackson Batties | Jessica R. Bloomfield | Christopher S. Cohen

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for the District of Columbia submitted four separate petitions to the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2, 2021, to amend the District of Columbia Zoning Regulations (Title 11 of the DCMR) pursuant to Subtitle X Chapter 13 and Subtitle Z § 305 of the Zoning Regulations.

A brief description of each petition is provided below.

  1. Text Amendment Petition for Inclusionary Zoning Increased Affordability

The proposed text amendment would deepen the levels of affordability for dwelling units set aside under Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) regulations by lowering the maximum median family income (MFI) level for rental units to 50% MFI from the current 60% and ownership/for-sale units to 70% MFI from the current 80%, as well as requiring at least one unit at 30% MFI for rental buildings.

  1. Text Amendment Petition for Inclusionary Zoning Applicability in D-Zones

OAG's proposed text amendment would apply IZ to downtown (D) zones that are currently exempt from the IZ program, including the  D-1-R, D-3, D-4-R, D-5, D-5-R, D-6, D-6-R and D-7 zones. Notably, OAG is petitioning that the Zoning Commission take emergency action, which would make this proposed text amendment effective immediately.

  1. Text Amendment Petition for Off-Site Inclusionary Zoning Compliance Criteria

OAG's proposed text amendment would require an application seeking to move required IZ units off-site to provide an increased affordable housing benefit with at least one of the following:

  • at least 20% more IZ units
  • deeper affordability for at least 20% of the required IZ units
  • family-sized units with three or more bedrooms for at least 20% of the required IZ units

OAG asserts that these changes will mitigate projects that do not achieve IZ compliance by including affordable housing with market-rate housing in a mixed-income development.

  1. Text Amendment Petition to Exempt Affordable Housing Units from Minimum Parking Requirements

OAG's proposed text amendment would not apply minimum parking requirements to dwelling units reserved for households earning equal to or less than 80% MFI. The proposed change reflects a cost-shifting tactic that is intended to incentivize developers to provide deeper affordability in lieu of parking, which typically raises the cost of residential construction.

If you have any questions regarding OAG's text amendment petitions, please contact the authors or a member of Holland & Knight's Mid-Atlantic Land Use Team.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.

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