Bedford, NH – New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, recognizing an immediate need by municipalities in the state, has launched a new grant program to assist municipalities to address difficulties in creating and adopting local “inclusionary zoning” ordinances, regulations to encourage the development of affordable housing.
The new Inclusionary Zoning Implementation Program (IZIP), which was developed in response to increasing requests for assistance from local communities, provides direct grants of up to $9,000 to municipalities to help them develop and adopt inclusionary zoning ordinances. Local governments will apply for the funding on a competitive basis, with selection criteria and determination of successful applicants being made by a team composed of staff from New Hampshire Housing as well as peer and partner organizations. In addition to the grant funds, New Hampshire Housing will also provide grant recipients with technical assistance in economic analysis of proposed inclusionary zoning ordinances and communications strategies to help the public understand the need for affordable workforce housing.
“We saw an opportunity to help New Hampshire communities create regulatory environments that are favorable to the development of affordable housing,” stated Dean J. Christon, Executive Director of New Hampshire Housing. “IZIP recognizes that, despite their desire to enact inclusionary zoning regulations, many municipalities do not have the professional staff or the financial resources to hire consultants to assist them with creating such ordinances.”
Under IZIP, the municipal work in creating new inclusionary zoning regulations will be conducted by professional planning consultants chosen from among a list of consultants that have been previously qualified and trained. The work product will be an ordinance ready for adoption and a campaign to educate the voters about the inclusionary zoning proposal.
John Andrews, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Local Government Center said, “The IZIP program is a perfect example of stimulating affordable housing “the New Hampshire Way” through incentives for innovation at the local level. It is the type of program that communities needed to assist them in developing new ordinances and regulations to encourage the private sector to include affordable housing units in market-rate developments.”
New Hampshire statute defines inclusionary zoning to be “…land use control regulations which provide a voluntary incentive or benefit to a property owner in order to induce the property owner to produce housing units which are affordable to persons or families of low and moderate income. Inclusionary zoning includes, but is not limited to, density bonuses, growth control exemptions, and a streamlined application process.”
Ultimately, the goals of IZIP are to create a larger pool of professionals with experience in inclusionary zoning and, through its implementation in a variety of municipalities, provide a series of model ordinances that could easily be adapted by other communities. These benefits will be important to the success of future efforts at providing affordable housing opportunities across the state.
New Hampshire Housing is a non-profit, public benefit corporation established by the State Legislature. The Authority operates a number of programs designed to assist low and moderate income persons to obtain housing. Since its inception, the Authority has assisted more than 35,000 families purchase their own homes and has financed the creation of more than 12,000 multi-family housing units.
For more information on the IZIP program, click on this link.