10 Ways Raleigh Can Encourage Housing Affordability
“My goal is to make Raleigh an inclusive, welcoming city for all of our residents, a place where our children can afford to live, and a leader in innovative housing solutions.”
Cities throughout the country are struggling with the issue of housing affordability. In Raleigh, only single-family homes are allowed to be built in 80 percent of the city, reducing housing stock and housing choices. This is a complex issue and there is no silver bullet. But if we do ALL of the items below, we can make progress. One thing is certain: we cannot buy our way out of this crisis. We need strong policies, planning and partnerships to advance. As your mayor, I have worked closely with our City Council on the issues below – and we have made substantial progress. We will continue working to make sure all of our priorities are completed.
- We educate, collaborate, and lead. Local elected officials must have the political will to act on the policy issues below – many of which DO NOT require the use of taxpayer dollars. And residents need to understand what’s at stake if we don’t act with urgency.
- This is always ongoing! See our results below.
- Allow Accessory Dwelling Units by right in all residential housing districts. This would allow families to care for aging parents, house boomerang kids or rent property, building wealth. The city also benefits by increased property values.
- The council passed ADU's by right and they are now allowed (and being built) in the city.
- Encourage the construction of “missing middle” housing – townhomes, condominiums, duplexes, triplexes and quads – in residential districts. Four, 1,200 square foot condos located in one building look a lot like a larger home.
- Text changes allowing missing middle housing were prepared by the Planning Department and passed by the council on July 6th! Now for the first time in many decades people will be able to build duplexes, townhomes, and other housing types and more in certain areas of the city.
- Remove impediments to building cottage courts and tiny home communities. And while we’re at it, allow flag lots – which permit two homes on deep lots.
- Text changes to allow Cottage Courts were approved and we’re waiting for our first Cottage Court community to be constructed. The council approved the Lane-Idlewild project which will build 17 affordable cottage court units.
- We approved a text change for tiny homes, which is being developed by our Planning Department.
- Flag lots are next up for discussion.
- Reduce minimum lot sizes and minimum parking requirements. Our current lot minimums actually encourage the construction of McMansions. And if we reduce minimum parking requirements, it will reduce the cost of housing.
- We reduced minimum parking required in the downtown area and are now looking at ways to expand this. We will be looking at the issue of minimal lot sizes.
- Work collaboratively with Wake County and Wake County Public Schools to identify underutilized properties that can be developed for affordable housing. Could we build a “teacher’s village” adjacent to a school? Transform an aging building into housing for homeless vets or women with children? Work with health care systems to create workforce housing?
- A meeting has been requested with both Wake County and WCPSS to help progress this issue.
- Upzone for density in transit corridors, especially Bus Rapid Transit corridors as well as heavy use transit and automobile corridors.
- We upzoned for density along the New Bern Avenue corridor, which received $35 million in Federal Grant funding in December of 2020 to begin work.
- Incentivize private developers to build workforce and TOD housing. Some ideas include land swaps, gap funding or grants, expedited approvals, a reduction in impact fees, the use of TIF financing, or the creation of municipal service districts. Let’s establish a committee of industry leaders to help define what is possible.
- Our Housing & Neighborhoods Department is looking at a partnership with the Urban Land Institute to advance this discussion.
- Partner with land trusts to provide long-term housing affordability and assist in land banking properties for affordable housing purposes.
- The City has currently partnered with a land trust and is studying long-term projects.
- Council recently authorized staff to proceed with the selection of Raleigh Area Land Trust (RALT) to be the developer for the Lane-Idlewild affodable housing project.
- Create a well-crafted affordable housing bond to support the above policies.
- We did! This historic, $80 million housing bond was approved by 72 percent of the voters. Thank you to everyone for your support!