Inclusionary Zoning as Solution to Affordable Housing Shortage in Pittbsurgh

Bob Damewood, RHLS Staff Attorney, has prepared a new report for the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, titled: Building Inclusive Communities: A Review of Local Conditions, Legal Authority, and Best Practices for Pittsburgh.

The report recommends inclusionary zoning policies to help retain the city’s diversity and vibrancy. Inclusionary zoning policies can either require or encourage local real estate developers to make a percentage of new housing units affordable to tenants with low-incomes. In exchange, developers may receive approval for zoning or land use as well as other public benefits.

By reviewing local conditions, legal authority, and national best practices, the report lays the groundwork for realistic and implementable inclusionary zoning policies in Pittsburgh.

Highlights from the report include:

  • There is a severe shortage of decent, safe, and affordable housing in the City of Pittsburgh, totaling approximately 21,580 units for extremely low income renters.  The failure of the housing market to meet this demand creates a domino effect that makes housing unaffordable across all lower income levels.
  • A well-designed inclusionary zoning policy can help unlock available subsidies to address this shortage.
  • Pittsburgh’s housing market appears to be strong enough to support inclusionary zoning policies.
  • Pittsburgh has the legal authority to enact inclusionary zoning, and can design a policy that would avoid constitutional challenges.

To find out more about how inclusionary zoning could benefit the City of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable read the report here.