Downtown Bureau

Proposed Inclusionary Zoning Rules too Weak to be Effective

With the addition of the West Harbour GO and planning underway for the forthcoming B-line LRT, it is crucial for Hamilton to be able to require a minimum percentage of units in new developments be affordable.

By Rob Fiedler
Published February 01, 2018

As the planning coordinator for the Beasley Neighbourhood Association, I wish to convey our profound disappointment with the proposed inclusionary zoning (IZ) regulations released in December for public comment and feedback.

Downtown neighbourhoods in Hamilton are experiencing fast-rising rents and housing prices and a steady loss of affordable housing stock, especially for our low- and moderate-income residents. At the same time, we are on the cusp of a serious building boom.

It was our hope and expectation that IZ would assist us in ensuring our neighbourhood can remain a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse place - a "complete community" in the parlance of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which designates a significant portion of our neighbourhood an Urban Growth Centre.

We are active with respect to planning and development issues and support efforts to add new housing to our neighbourhood. We have long been advocates for affordable housing to be part of the mix in new developments.

With the addition of the West Harbour GO and planning underway for the forthcoming B-line LRT, it is crucial for Hamilton to be able to require a minimum percentage of units in new developments be affordable.

Five Percent Too Low

A limit of five percent affordable units is too low. Ten percent generally and 25 percent near transit stations is needed to make a real impact longer-term. If the latter requires more funding and direct involvement from senior levels of government to work, then move in that direction with a housing program (be real partners).

Also, it makes little sense to put a sunset clause on the affordable units produced. Transit stations, especially, are destined to become more desirable over time as the City's BLAST rapid transit network is built out and GO service increases.

Unless there is a constant supply of new units being added in these areas as others fall out of affordable status, then this plan will ultimately land us back where we are now: in a housing affordability crisis in the most walkable and transit-connected parts of major urban centres.

Susceptible to NIMBYism

Also, the inclusion of language that allows municipalities to identify locations that are "appropriate" for IZ appears destined to enable NIMBYs to resist the inclusion of IZ in their areas. If a policy like this involves a choice, it will be difficult for powerful property-owning stakeholders to resist advocating for IZ to be applied elsewhere and in somebody else's backyard.

This would be counterproductive and undermine the integrity of the policy in practice. It needs to be rethought.

A better approach might be to establish a framework of sub-areas or neighbourhoods and devise minimum targets to apply to ensure all places are moving towards an appropriate level of supply.

Finally, why leave out rental buildings? The proposed regulations specify an exemption for developments or redevelopments of rental apartment buildings.

These are our basic concerns with the proposed IZ regulations. We fear they will not be very effective and we hope the Government will take heed of the criticism being levelled at them and come back with revised IZ regulations worthy of the name.

Rob Fiedler is a member of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association executive. Expresses himself in a 280 characters or less @rsfiedler.

1 Comment

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By baroyacego (registered) | Posted February 25, 2018 at 13:55:59

There are so many departmental stores in the USA, but JC Penny Associates Company is providing best service for customers and holds a special place in their hearts http://jcpassociatekiosk.info/

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds