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Ban on affordable housing requirement passes Senate

A bill in the Louisiana senate is trying to ban affordable housing mandates in real estate developments. According to The Times-Picayune, rising rents in new Orleans lead to a city ordinance for “inclusionary zoning” that would require 12 percent of condos or apartments to sell or rent for lower than market rate. This bill, which was approved by the Senate, will prevent that city ordinance from taking effect for fear that it will halt development.

Inclusionary zoning to ensure affordable housing became possible by law in Louisiana in 2006, but no city had put it into effect. New Orleans is considering the 12 percent affordable housing study because many of the workers at the city’s many tourist venues are being forced further and further away from the sources of their livelihood by the high cost of living. Those for the ordinance believe that keeping the housing available to members of the workforce in areas with access to neighborhood services and public transportation is beneficial.

This debate is not unique to Louisiana, as rising rents affect working populations across the country. Both Portland, Oregon and Nashville, Tennessee are facing controversy from similar ordinances. Portland’s ban on inclusionary zoning was lifted by the State legislature last year and an affordable housing ordinance went into effect in February 2017. In the short period before the ordinance took effect developers were trying to rush their project through the approval process. Nashville, like New Orleans, approved an affordable housing ordinance and now the Tennessee General Assembly is trying to get a statewide ban in place.

Builder Online reports that the author of the bill, Republican Sen. Conrad Appel, believes that developers will not work under the ordinance. Instead, he thinks tax breaks could be an incentive used to reach the same goal voluntarily with builders.

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