Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Housing Policy Takes Effect

Lower Ninth Ward Homes In New Orleans
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NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell has announced the start of the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Housing Policy, a change to the City’s zoning code that requires developers to build affordable housing units in neighborhoods with some of the highest housing costs in the city. 

The policy, which takes effect Thursday, July 1, mandates that developers provide affordable housing units in new construction or rehabilitated housing that contains more than 10 housing units in the CBD, French Quarter, Marigny-Bywater, Treme, Mid-City, and Lower Garden District.

This applies to all new multi-family rental developments, whether stand-alone or mixed-use buildings. Beginning Thursday, these developments will be required to set aside either 5% or 10% of rental units for New Orleanians making 60% of the Area Median Income or approximately $42,060 for a family of four. Based on 2021 HUD income limits, the maximum rent for a two-bedroom unit would be $946.50 per month.

These units must remain affordable for 99 years. In exchange for providing affordable housing units, developments are entitled to development bonuses, parking reductions, and financial incentives in the form of a tax abatement. For those who would rather pay a one-time fee, there is an option to do that as well. Developments located outside the mandatory areas are eligible to take advantage of the incentives by opting into the voluntary inclusionary housing provisions.

“Due to the hard work of our City’s housing advocates and development partners, the City Planning Commission, the City Council, and my Administration, affordable housing for our residents will be required in some of our highest opportunity neighborhoods when we implement the City’s first ever Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning ordinance. Every resident deserves a safe place to live and thrive and this program will provide housing opportunities to those residents who are vital to our city’s economic vitality. This program is for residents who are often excluded from being able to live in the neighborhoods close to employment and services,” said Mayor Cantrell.

Research has shown that the resources that come with living in high-opportunity neighborhoods help reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty. Interventions such as inclusionary zoning have proven to dramatically change a family’s ability to provide their children with upward mobility by providing fairness and equitable access to neighborhoods with more resources.

“As Councilmember for District B, one of my top priorities has been to promote and maintain affordable housing opportunities that keep New Orleanians in their neighborhoods. Throughout the city, access to affordable housing is in a critical state. This comprehensive set of policies is aimed at attacking the zoning and economic aspects of the crisis with both incentives and mandates for new developments,” said Jay H. Banks, City Councilmember, District B.

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