Bloomington planning to increase affordable housing options

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – A plan to increase affordable housing in Bloomington is underway.

According to a release, Mayor John Hamilton announced Thursday to increase affordable housing in Bloomington over the next 12 months, while the adoption of the Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) and the United Development Ordinance (UDO) is in progress.

“‘Affordable housing’ refers to housing serving those whose income is up to 130% of Bloomington’s median range of $28,660 (adjusted for family size) and will encompass all types of housing from special needs to senior housing. The administration has made progress over the last eight months in enhancing housing opportunities for lower income and special needs residents, using already available tools such as tax abatements, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Tax Agreement), and the development review process.”

The administration’s strategy to increase affordable housing options focuses on eight maJor areas that include:

  • Accessory Dwelling Units – Allow up to 20 ADUs as a pilot through amending the UDO
  • Tiny Houses – Homes range between 80 and 400 square feet
  • Inclusionary Zoning – Working with private developers of market-rate housing to include affordable units, provide affordable units elsewhere or provide monetary support for affordable units created by others
  • Cooperative Housing – Member-based housing allows members to use their resources to leverage buying power
  • Long Term Affordability Covenants – Legal requirements that require certain properties to remain affordable for a specific amount of time
  • Housing Fund – Establishing a new fund as a tool to receive funds intended to support affordable housing initiatives
  • Incentives – Tax abatements, enterprise zone investment deductions and tax increment financing options available
  • Collaborations – New affordable housing task force with goal to bring nonprofit and for profit developers, realtors, financial institutions, landowners, housing providers and interested residents together to evaluate housing-related data to improve current efforts and development

The housing strategies will be incorporated in the CMP and the UDO as they are discussed, reviewed and voted on in the next couple of months.

“Affordable housing is a fundamental building block of a successful city. We know we have some challenges with housing affordability and I’m planning that we try several innovative things to address those challenges and see what works best as we develop our longer term plans together. We want this wonderful place to work for people from all walks of life,” Mayor Hamilton said.

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