Affordable housing was the focus of a discussion Monday night in a joint meeting between the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners and Rochester City Council.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting in April, officials said they are looking into ordinance changes to give developers incentives to include affordable housing units. The need for affordable housing is predicted to grow more rapidly in Rochester and the surrounding communities over the next few years.
A report found 60% of renters in Olmsted County cannot afford the Market rate of $957 per month.
One proposal provided at the May 9th meeting included a policy called “inclusionary housing.” Under this policy, developers building a market-rate housing complex would be expected to make a percentage of the units affordable. Although it sounds simple, the elements to this policy are flexible. For example, depending on the city needs and other factors, the amount of units set aside as “affordable” could range from 10% to 20%. The incentives offered to the developers would also vary depending on how the policy is negotiated.
To gauge how the policy can be applied in Rochester, Syndication & Loan Officer of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund John Errigo suggests that an expert come into Rochester and define what the policy might “look like” in the community. This would then be compared to the other parts of the country that have either succeeded or failed using the inclusionary policy.