Miami may allow denser development in exchange for affordable housing

Commissioners gave preliminary approval to inclusionary zoning rules that would permit denser developments if they include affordable or workforce housing units

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

Miami city commissioners gave preliminary approval to a proposal that would require private developers to include affordable housing in new apartment buildings in a part of the city where denser development would be allowed.

The “inclusionary zoning” proposal would allow denser development in an area between Northeast Second Avenue and North Miami Avenue from approximately 18th Street south to Interstate 395.

In that zone, which covers approximately 30 city blocks, denser development would be allowed to offset the cost that residential building owners would incur for designating a portion of their units as affordable and workforce housing.

City commissioners approved the inclusionary zoning rules in a preliminary 4-0 vote late Thursday, and they will consider final approval of the rules in December.

The city already has approved denser development in exchange for the inclusion of workforce housing units in about six real estate projects.

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Melo Group, for example, won city approval for denser development in exchange for including 255 workforce housing units in three towers the firm is developing. Workforce housing is loosely defined as rental apartments affordable for teachers and police officers.

The proposed inclusionary zoning rules would replace the city’s case-by-case approach to requiring some affordable and workforce housing units in exchange for allowing denser residential developments.

The proposed rules would result in mixed-income rental properties. Affordable housing typically takes the form of rental properties occupied solely by low-income tenants.

Under established legal definitions, affordable housing is for families that make 80 percent or less of the median household income in Miami-Dade County. The threshold of 80 percent or less currently equates to $62,950 or less for a family of four in Miami-Dade. Workforce housing is for families of four with a household income of as much as $94,440. [Miami Herald]Mike Seemuth