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THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLANNING AND APPEAL ACT
Public Act 93-0595

Problem: Many towns and cities in Illinois face shortages in homes affordable to nurses, police officers, teachers, firefighters, secretaries, and others who provide critical community services and help drive the local economy. This shortage can hinder economic development, increase traffic congestion, and limit opportunities for hard-working residents and their children. Unfortunately, local barriers contribute to this shortage of affordable housing. Exclusionary zoning laws, slow permit processes and a vocal minority of residents with outdated stereotypes of affordable housing can make progress very difficult.

Solution: The Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act provides new ways to remove inefficient barriers in the housing market and facilitate the creation of affordable housing.

HOW IT WORKS:

The Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act contains two provisions to help encourage the creation of affordable housing in communities with less than 10% affordable housing:
1. An Affordable Housing Plan must be adopted by communities with less than 10% affordable housing.
2. A State Housing Appeals Board will be empowered to review developers’ appeals of certain local government decisions affecting proposed affordable housing developments. Communities that have met the goal in outlined in their plan are NOT subject to the authority of the Appeals Board.

(1) The Affordable Housing Plan

  • A local government must approve an affordable housing plan that states the total number of affordable housing units needed to reach the goal of 10% affordable housing within its jurisdiction.
  • The affordable housing plan must also identify what lands within the local government’s jurisdiction are most appropriate for the development of affordable housing, and what incentives can be provided to developers that would attract affordable housing to their jurisdiction.
  • The plan must contain one of three very specific goals for increasing the stock of affordable housing in a community: 1) a minimum of 15% of all new development or redevelopment must be affordable; 2) the community will increase its overall percentage of affordable housing by three percentage points; or 3) the community will increase its overall percentage of affordable housing to 10% of the total housing stock.

Benefits of Affordable Housing and an Affordable Housing Plan

Stimulates Economic Development

  • Bolsters economic development by helping employers attract and retain workers who are able find housing closer to their jobs.
  • Benefits communities because employees tend to spend their wages in the communities in which they live. The result is a larger tax base, increased demand for goods and services, and local economic growth.

Strengthens the Social Fabric

  • Public servants, like police officers, teachers, and firefighters, can afford to live in and be a part of the communities they serve.
  • Seniors have the opportunity to stay in the communities in which they have spent their lives.
  • Young families have a chance to raise their children in the communities in which they grew up.

Improves Quality of Life

  • Working parents can spend less time commuting and more time investing in their children.
  • Reduced commuting times also result in less traffic congestion and air pollution.

Exemptions:

(1) Communities where 10% or more of the housing stock is affordable are exempt from the law. According to a
preliminary analysis of 2000 census data, only about 85 local governments, out of a possible 1300 plus, would be subject to the law.
(2) Communities with less than 1,000 people are exempt.
(3) Communities that can prove that they have met the goal in their affordable housing plan are exempt.

(2) State-Level Housing Appeals Board

The Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act also creates a State Housing Appeals Board empowered to hear appeals from developers who have been denied in their efforts to build affordable housing in communities that lack it. Communities with 10% or more affordable housing or communities that have met the goal outlined in their plan are NOT subject to the authority of the Appeals Board.

  • This board includes governor-appointed representatives of local government, zoning boards of appeals, plan commissions, developers, and housing advocates. The board will be chaired by a retired judge.
  • The board may review denials of affordable housing developments. The board may require a municipality to issue all approvals needed for an affordable housing development. The board’s Order can be enforced in court.

WHO THIS LAW SERVES:

Working Families

The Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act encourages the production of for-sale housing for families making below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and rental housing for families earning less than 60% AMI. These income levels for a family of four are listed below for key parts of the state:

 

  80% 60%
- Chicago Six-County Region: $56,500 $45,200
- Davenport-Moline-Rock Island: $44,500 $33,400
- Peoria-Pekin, IL: $46,250 $34,700
- Rockford, IL: $47,850 $35,900
- Springfield, IL: $51,900 $38,900

 

Developers of Affordable Housing

To be eligible to make use of the appeals process, developers must make 20% of the housing units or homes in their development affordable to households at 80% of the county median income.

Communities that Already Have Affordable Housing and Those that Need Affordable Housing

Municipalities are exempt from the statute if at least 10% of all housing units are already affordable. This provides municipalities with an incentive to plan and actively promote affordable housing in order to gain exemption.

How Does This Help Local Governments?

Most local leaders recognize the importance of affordable housing but are concerned about opponents capitalizing on residents’ fears and misconceptions. In Massachusetts, the housing appeals law has allowed local officials to evaluate affordable housing proposals on their merits, not on emotions. Some residents may still oppose affordable housing, but they recognize that their local leaders are simply carrying out state law.

An amendment to the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act is currently being considered by the state legislature. For more information, click here.

Courtesy of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest

web site developed by Chris Coglianeseweb site developed by Chris Coglianese

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