Richmond Poised to Change Affordable Housing Rules
Richmond leaders will consider later this month a proposal to revamp the city’s inclusionary requirements for residential projects and adopt a new citywide $2 per sq. ft. commercial linkage fee. The city’s planning commission recommended the changes earlier this year and the City Council is scheduled to hear the proposal at a public hearing on Oct. 20, 2020. Click HERE to view the public hearing notice, draft ordinance and related documents. Specifically, the proposal calls for reducing the percentage of on-site units required to be affordable. The for-sale moderate household tier would drop from 17 percent to 10 percent while the low-income household option would decline from 15 percent to 7 percent. On the rental side, the low-income category option would drop from 15 percent to 10 percent and the very low-income tier would decline from 10 percent to 9 percent. (Developers may choose to fulfill the requirement through one of the two options offered for rental and for-sale products.) Developers retain the ability to pay an in-lieu fee by right with one exception: Ownership residential projects proposed south of Interstate 580 must build the units. Designated as Zone 1, this includes the city’s marina, waterfront and Point Richmond areas. Zone 1 rental residential developers in Zone would have the option to pay an in-lieu fee of $12 per sq. ft. A Keyser Marston Associates feasibility study concluded that the housing market in this area can support a higher affordable housing requirement than elsewhere in the city. Outside of Zone 1, a $3 per sq. ft. in-lieu fee will kick in as soon as the city issues 370 residential permits. The rate will ramp up to $6 and $9 per sq. ft. as the city permits more housing. The fee caps at $12 per sq. ft. as soon as the city issues a total of more than 1,482 residential permits. The new commercial linkage fee of $2 per sq. ft. would apply to developments with 5,000 or more sq. ft. If adopted, the ordinance and fee will go into effect on Dec. 19, 2020. For questions or comments, contact BIA’s Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-348-1956 or email@example.com.