My questions to the group are:
1. Do you set a different standard for condo conversions, either more lenient or stricter, than for new development?
a. For example, in condo conversions 10% or 15% of the units must be affordable, but in new development, the requirement is 20%.
b. Or, the Ordinance only applies for developments of 10 or more units in condo conversions, but for new development it applies when there are 5 or more units.
2. In general, what percent of units are required to be affordable under your Ordinance?
I work at the City of Highland Park, IL, and we have an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance that requires that 20% of units in new developments with 5 or more units be affordable, including condominium conversions. We also are developing a condominium conversion ordinance for future application presuming that the market for conversions will develop again in the (perhaps distant) future. For condo conversions, we are discussing changing the inclusionary threshold, because owners/developers cannot take advantage of the density bonus that we otherwise provide, because they are constrained by the existing building. The possible scenarios that we are considering at present are revising the Ordinance:
1. To increase the development size, for example to ten units, before requiring inclusionary units in condo conversions, or
2. To decrease the percentage of affordable units required in condominium conversions, say to 10% or 15% percent rather than 20%.
Thanks so much for any help you can provide.
Mary Cele Smith
Condo conversions should not be subject to inclusionary zoning for the reason you cited--a density credit makes no sense. In fact many converters will reduce the number of units by combining studios or one bedrooms, or converting a unit into a community facility.
Instead of inclusionary zoning, use a tenant protection tool, so that tenants who have a disability, are low income or are seniors receive more relation assistance or can be kept in place as owners or as tenants. See the DC law in this regard, which also gives tenants the right to buy the building and convert to co-op.