Council Discusses Affordable Housing Recommendations

Naperville City Council recently held a workshop to discuss eight recommendations made by the Housing Advisory Commission to address Naperville’s lack of affordable housing.

Eight Recommendations

The recommendations ranged from basic goals like developing a working relationship with affordable housing developers to more complex policies like implementing an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. The full list includes:

  1. Implement an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance
  2. Develop Working Relationship with Affordable Housing Developers
  3. Develop a Strategy to Leverage Publicly Owned Land to Address Housing Challenges
  4. Develop Specific Plans to Preserve Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
  5. Establish Additional Resources to Assist Population with Special Needs
  6. Create Housing Specific Staff Positions within City
  7. Establish a Housing Trust Fund specifically targeted towards helping veterans, seniors, the
    population with special housing needs and first responders including nurses, police, and
    fire in purchasing a home
  8. Establish a Revolving Rehabilitation Loan Fund specifically targeted towards low income
    seniors who currently own in Naperville so that they can make the necessary repairs to
    their home and age in place

Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance

An IZO would require developers to set aside a percentage of housing units to be priced at affordable rates. Council could decide to add a fee-in-lieu option for that ordinance as well.

“Some communities like the fee-in-lieu option because your money can actually go a bit further,” said Lance Dorn, vice president at S.B. Friedman who is consulting with the city on this topic. “The fee-in-lieu option can give you the opportunity if the city would want to do this where they can use that money to provide housing, maybe purchase an existing apartment building to make that money go further.”

In June, HAC Commissioner Mark Rice said the IZO would do more to address affordable housing than any other recommendation. Some on the council agreed, but others felt it could discourage development in the city.

“I’ve heard some folks in real estate circles have contended that some of the inclusionary zoning policies in Chicago have actually lead to less development, less affordable housing options, it stymied residential construction,” said Councilman Kevin Coyne.

Naperville Lacking Affordable Housing

The Illinois Housing Development Authority has twice cited Naperville for not meeting affordable housing standards, most recently in 2019. It was the only Illinois city of more than 50,000 residents cited.

City staff will use feedback from the meeting to develop policies and legislation to be voted on at future meetings.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

 

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