Newark moves to expand range of developments that include affordable housing

Newark’s mayor and council on Tuesday moved to boost the city’s affordable housing stock, introducing a measure that would increase the number of residential developments required to include affordable units.

Mayor Ras Baraka proposed amendments to the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, and the city council granted preliminary approval during its meeting on Tuesday, the mayor’s office announced.

The amendments, which must be reviewed by the city planning board prior to adoption, would require that all proposed developments with at least 15 housing units include a share set aside for people with low or moderate incomes. Currently, the ordinance only covers developments of 30 units or more.

The amendment would require that 20% of a project’s total number of units be affordable, the same percentage currently required under the ordinance.

Another proposed change is intended to boost the number of affordable units constructed on-site to encourage varied income levels among neighbors. Under the change, a developer would be required to contribute $180,000 to a city affordable housing fund for each unit constructed off-site.

In a statement, Baraka said the proposed amendments to the ordinance would, “ensure that all Newark residents have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing, and that our city continues to be a vibrant gateway to opportunity for all, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or immigration status.”

Last August, Baraka announced a plan to create or preserve 6,600 affordable units in the city by 2026. It was five months after researchers at Rutgers University released a report putting the city’s affordable housing need at 16,000 units.

The Newark Housing Authority is also engaged in a drive to create more affordable housing by tearing down and redeveloping several abandoned housing projects.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-03-09 02:53:41 -0800