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City welcomes inclusionary zoning legislation as new tool to create affordable housing

The city tries to employ many tools to create affordable housing; the proposed George Street redevelopment project includes transitional living and affordable units

The provincial government has introduced legislation that gives the city the power to require developers to include affordable housing in their residential projects.
The Promoting Affordable Housing Act will permit municipalities to create inclusionary  zones, areas in which all new residential developments would be required to include affordable housing. Although developers are often able to override city dictums by appealing decisions to the Ontario Municipal Board, it would be mostly prohibited in these cases.
“Appeals of inclusionary zoning official plan policies and zoning by-laws to the Ontario Municipal Board would not be permitted, except by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing,” states the news release. “Under the proposed changes, municipalities could not accept cash-in-lieu of affordable units, and developers could not provide affordable units on another site.”
The city’s housing advocate, Councillor Ana Bailão, welcomed the legislation, but said the city still has a lot of work to day to create effective inclusionary zoning policies.
“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure inclusionary zoning delivers real results for people in need of affordable homes,” Bailão stated in a news release. “However, it is important to remember that inclusionary zoning will not solve Toronto’s housing crisis on its own. Inclusionary zoning will join the growing menu of tools the city has to support our affordable housing agenda.”
The province considers a home affordable when residents do not pay more than 30 per cent of gross income on annual accommodation costs or, the purchase or rental price is at least 10 per cent below average market value.
The province is looking for public input on the bill until August 16. Inclusionary zoning has been used extensively by communities around the world, including in England and in over 500 municipalities in the United States.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
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