Key Facts and A Little Commentary on Denver’s Proposed Affordable Housing Impact Fee Ordinance
1. The dollar impacts proposed to be paid by developers at building permit issuance
- Residential/Single-Family/Duplex: $0.60/sq ft
- Residential/Multi-Family: $1.50/sq ft
- Commercial/Hotel/Office/Retail/Other: $1.70/sq ft
- Commercial/Industrial/Agricultural: $0.40/sq ft
- Building units on-site or within ¼ mile of it will be an option to paying the fee
- The IHO ordinance would be vacated and replaced by the new requirements, but existing IHO requirements (on existing units) would remain
2. The current public participation and adoption schedule
- July 23, Cabinet in the Community at Maxwell Elementary School
- On or about August 1, ordinance language released to public
- August 2, ordinance presentation to City Council Safety and Wellbeing Committee. Note: Councilman New is Chair, Councilwoman Kniech is Vice-Chair, members are Clark, Flynn, Kashmann, and Lopez (Tuesdays, 1:30 pm, see https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-city-council/council-committees/safety-well-being.html)
- August 9 or 16, ordinance presentation at Joint Mayor-Council Meeting (Tuesdays, 9:30 am) (see https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/mayors-office/about-the-office-of-the-mayor/mayor-council-meetings.html)
- August 22, City Council 1st Reading — Monday evening (see https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-city-council/meeting-calendar.html)
- August 30, City Council 2nd Reading (typically resulting in adoption) — Monday evening
- January 1, 2017, proposed effective date
3. How it impacts projects in process
Feedback from City staff working on the ordinance is that, on the effective date of January 1, 2017, all projects that have either filed for at least a concept site development plan (SDP) or a building permit, will be exempt from its provisions. This language will be subject to change and/or refinement within the adoption process. Actual wording will be confirmed when the ordinance language is released about August 1.
4. The Real Estate Garage’s basic commentary on the ordinance
A. There is a consensus building on the need for it, suggesting that it’s not a matter of if it gets adopted, it is when and how.
B. If you want to have an impact on the adopted code it’s important to engage per the above opportunities. You can also call or email any Council member with your thoughts. (see https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-city-council/council-members.html)
C. This ordinance, or a future ordinance, should include a density bonus for constructed affordable housing. If a whole state (California) can mandate density bonuses for affordable housing, so can the City of Denver. Such an arrangement would be a reasonable tradeoff for the exaction of money from developers for affordable housing. Linking a density bonus to the adoption of an affordable housing impact fee theoretically makes it more political palatable. Moreover, a density bonus provision, where the constructed units are in lieu of the fee, can only result in more affordable housing units being built, which is what everyone wants.