The Louisiana Senate just passed a bill that could keep local governments, including New Orleans, from requiring real estate developers to include affordable housing projects, according to an article by Katherine Sayre for The Times Picayune.
The bill bans local governments from implementing affordable housing mandates by inclusionary zoning. The bill was authored by Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, and passed in a 29 to 9 decision.
From the article:
Appel said the bill removes mandates and instead encourages voluntary negotiations between developers and cities to create affordable housing in exchange for incentives such as tax breaks or zoning variances. Requiring developers to rent or sell apartments and condos for below market rates would result in developers walking away, he said.
“They won't do it that way,” Appel said. “The idea is to make it so there's a fair and mutual agreement between both parties, rather than a mandate.”
Currently in New Orleans, city officials are working to create an inclusionary zoning ordinance, which would require 12% of multifamily units to be rented or sold below the market rate. The article points out that, according to Appel, this rule recently scared off a developer looking to build a 60-unit building.
The need for more affordable housing is higher than ever as new studies are showing even the most affordable housing markets aren’t that affordable.