Additional Developer Incentives Discussed During City Council Study Session

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Longmont construction (Photo by Macie May/ Longmont Observer)

Tuesday, July 16th’s Longmont City Council meeting was a study session. This gives the council a chance to discuss city-related topics however, no laws can be passed.

In this particular meeting, Longmont City Staff sought direction on additional incentives that could be offered to developers should they choose to provide more than the 12% required units for affordable housing.

The incentives brought before council included:

  • Enhancements to Current Incentives
    • Current incentives include:
      • Density Bonus – eligible for a 20% density bonus
      • Height Bonus – eligible for up to one additional story of building height
      • Lot Size & Lot Width Reductions – eligible for a 20% reduction in these dimensional standards (applies to all lots in a development, not just the affordable lots)
      • Parking Reductions – eligible for a reduction in parking for affordable units (one space/unit vs. standard requirements ranging from 1.5 – 3 spaces/unit)
  • Adjustments/Reductions to Landscape Standards
    • Developers comment that landscaping is one of the larger costs of building. City staff suggested an incentive of reducing the amount of landscaping required or the size of the plants initially planted might encourage developers to reduce the cost passed onto the consumer.
  • Waivers and Adjustments to Site and Building Design Standards
    • This incentive would allow developers the ability to save on building materials used for design. An example given by staff included a reduction in the amount of rock surface on the outside of the building being reduced from 60% to 40% in Aurora for affordable housing units.
  • Flexibility or Exemptions from the Sustainability Evaluation System (SES) Under Consideration
    • The SES is currently under development by city staff. As it is not complete, the incentives are not clearly defined. However, staff suggests that council could use this as an option for developers to gain “bonus points” should they consider adding additional affordable housing units.
  • Expansion of Allowed Housing Types
    • “Currently, housing is limited to specific dwelling types based on the zoning district a property is located in. Many communities are allowing a more diverse list of housing types in an attempt to encourage additional housing,” according to council communication.

Councilmember Martin proposed that any incentive given, especially those based on height, be considerate of the environment and neighborhood surrounding the proposed area of development. Councilmember Rodriguez amended the motion by suggesting that be done by looking at the Neighborhood Protections Plans. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilmember Finley moved that city staff be directed to explore what reductions in lot width and area would look like. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilmember Rodriguez moved that any additional incentives voted upon by council be for developers who allocate 25% or more of the units being built to affordable housing. Councilmember Waters was concerned with the threshold at which developers would participate in the program.

Before a vote on the motion happened, Mayor Bagley moved that the council adjourn as the time was nearing 11 p.m. He wanted to ensure that council had the proper time to debate the topic further.

The motion to adjourn passed 6 to 1 with Councilmember Peck opposed.

The topic of affordable housing incentives will be brought back to a future council session as soon as city staff can arrange a time the consultant is also available.


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