On the City Council agenda there is a Council Referral by Frank Matarrese to request that the Planning Board work on the inclusionary housing ordinance to up the percentage of affordable housing units required for new construction. Specifically:
Increase the overall percentage of required affordable units within residential developments; affordable units as defined by the current Housing Element of Alameda’s General Plan and State housing laws.
Currently in Alameda outside of Alameda Point that inclusionary housing number is set at 15%. At Alameda Point it’s 25%. The cynical side of me believes that the impetus for this is less to provide a variety of housing options for Alamedans, but rather to throw up extra barriers to building housing without being outwardly against housing. It’s much prettier to dress up your opposition to all housing development by saying, “well developers aren’t building enough affordable housing units” when you know that an increase in government regulations, makes it less likely for a development project to go through.
When this topic came up once before I believe the justification for setting the inclusionary housing number at 15% outside of Alameda Point was so that the inclusionary housing ordinance would not automatically trigger a Density Bonus award, specifically in built out Alameda.
But now, even with that rationale, Frank Matarrese wants to try, again, to make it harder to build housing, I mean, provide more affordable housing.
Interestingly enough, if this is supported by the other City Council members what this will do is actually pave the way for any development in Alameda, particularly in built out Alameda, to immediately qualify under the proposed By-Right Housing Approvals being considered by Governor Brown. A project not within 1/2 mile of a planned or existing transit stop would require 20% affordable housing units. The existing 15% would require the developer to actively seek out the additional units to apply for the Density Bonus and for the By-Right Housing Approval, but if Frank Matarrese wants to go up to the Alameda Point levels he’ll be doing all the work for the developer at that point.