IV F. BARRIERS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
1. Strategies to Remove or Ameliorate Public Policies that Serve as Barriers to Affordable Housing
The following strategies are being explored by the City of Iowa City in an attempt to reduce barriers to affordable housing created by public policies (See Section III. E.):
a. Public Policies
1. Aggressively pursue funding for affordable housing from federal, state, and private sources to supplement City efforts to produce affordable housing.
2. Attempt to secure fair market rent guidelines from HUD to reflect the high housing and living expenses that individuals and families face in Iowa City.
b. Tax Policies
1. Research the ability to use tools as tax abatement and tax increment financing to support the development of affordable housing on a city-wide basis.
2. Continue funding of nonprofit and public services from property taxes received by the City.
3. Encourage the utilization of Low Income Housing Tax Credits as incentives for the development of affordable housing units, particularly in developing private/public and for-profit/non-profit relationships.
c. Land Use Controls and Zoning Ordinances
1. Ensure that suitable undeveloped land is zoned for higher densities, particularly medium density multi-family development. Where possible, areas that have sufficient infrastructure to accommodate multi-family development will be identified and recommended for possible rezoning.
2. Examine inclusionary zoning practices, including density bonuses for developments that include affordable housing units.
3. Include zoning for lower cost housing alternatives such as single-room occupancy (SRO) housing, cooperatives, accessory apartments, manufactured and modular homes.
4. Examine subdivision and infrastructure standards in an attempt to identify standards that may be safely reduced to lesson the cost of infrastructure development for new subdivisions. This review will include the Public Works Department. Minimal levels of safety and infrastructure quality to ensure long-term maintenance will be of concern.
d. Building Codes, Fees, and Charges
Increase awareness of alternative UBC practices which, if implemented, could reduce the cost of constructing new units. These changes in practices include footings and foundations, wall framing, roofs, plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. The reduction of construction costs may make the building of new affordable units more feasible.
e. Growth Limits
1. Pursue in-fill development of non-conforming lots by granting variances, when appropriate.
2. Consider the annexation of land suitable for the development of affordable housing. This would include considering available infrastructure and zoning for higher densities, particularly medium density multi-family housing, manufactured housing, and smaller affordable single-family housing (e.g. attached units).
f. Policies that Affect Return on Residential Investment
Continue assisting lower-income households through the City's various rehabilitation programs, which include CDBG, HOME, and other single-family and rental rehab programs. This assistance provides funding for maintenance and repairs to qualifying households, improving the safety of their homes while protecting the homeowners' investments.
g. Dissemination of Information/Community Attitudes
1. Increase awareness about the needs of low-income people and about the availability of services to this population. Though numerous services are available, it is important to recognize that not all needs are being met by the private market, by the City, or by non-profit agencies, and that additional resources are needed to help low-income households.
2. Attempt to address misconceptions and assumptions about low-income households. Attempts to address NIMBY concerns may reduce barriers to housing in areas where fears of high concentrations of "poor people" may be prevalent.
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