6-13-11: Can You Legislate Affordable Housing?
In 2007, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill that requires developers working on major new residential projects to keep a certain percentage of units affordable. The legislation had a sunset provision: in five years, the requirements would disappear. That’s coming in 2012.
A spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told the Baltimore Sun that the mayor supports extending that sunset provision out to 2020. And a memo from the Baltimore City Department of Finance said the bill “appears to be ineffective at generating inclusionary housing without extraordinary public subsidy.”
Tonight, the City Council votes on a measure to repeal the sunset measure altogether.
How has this ordinance worked so far? And can affordable housing really be legislated?
To answer those questions and more, Sheilah is joined by
Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young* Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, a sponsor of the bill, and Mel Freeman, executive director of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association, which was a driving force behind the bill.
You can view the original 2007 ordinance by visiting the Baltimore City Charter and Codes and going to Article 13, Subtitle 2B.
And you can read about Montgomery County’s pioneering use of “inclusive zoning” at Shelterforce.
* Bill sponsor City Council President Young was originally scheduled to come in, but earlier this morning spokesperson Lester Davis told us that Young was not feeling well, and Councilwoman Clarke–also a bill sponsor–replaced him.