The City Commissioners approved an amendment to the Canopy Inclusionary Housing Agreement at their May 13 meeting. The amendment passed 4-1, with Commissioner Jeremy Matlow dissenting.
Under the amendment, homebuyers eligible for inclusionary housing can make up to 100% of the area median income (AMI). Matlow commented that he is not in favor of adjusting eligibility to 100% of the AMI.
“As we develop the communities, I think it’s important to make sure we’re sticking to the income diversity we want to see in new developments and make sure we don’t make the mistakes of the past where we continue to separate each other,” Matlow said. “I would rather see the City end up buying a piece of property and making it available to low-income residents than to actually adjust the AMI for eligible buyers.”
City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said setting eligibility at 100% of the AMI is intended to increase opportunities for people to purchase inclusionary housing.
“We’ve had difficulty in having folks who are able to satisfy the previous requirements that we had, and we thought by moving to 100% of the AMI we’d have more of an opportunity to get workforce housing actually established in this area,” Jackson said.
Chief Resiliency Officer Abena Ojetayo said the original Canopy Inclusionary Housing Agreement already sets eligibility at up to 100% of the AMI. She said there have been discussions on increasing the percentage, but staff has chosen to maintain it.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson noted that only one of the four existing inclusionary homes in Canopy has been purchased and said the amendment will give the City more flexibility.
“It’s been difficult to get qualified buyers for those homes, so I think this gives us some flexibility in terms of increasing the workforce housing in Canopy and actually getting people in the housing,” he said.
The amendment will also increase the average sales price (ASP) from $186,224 to $199,900 and increase the number of required inclusionary units from 62 to 67 units.
At their May 13 meeting, the City Commissioners will vote on an amendment to the Canopy Inclusionary Housing Agreement. The agreement was first approved in April 2018.
The Canopy is a neighborhood development located on the western portion of the Welaunee property. The development is subject to the inclusionary housing ordinance, which sets parameters for housing unit pricing to provide affordable homes to eligible homebuyers.
Eligible homebuyers earn 70% to 100% of the area median income (AMI), which was $69,100 in the Tallahassee area in 2019, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
The inclusionary housing ordinance applies to residential developments that have at least 50 units and are located in census tracts with a higher AMI than the City’s overall AMI.
Developments that are subject to the ordinance must designate 10% of the units in the development as inclusionary units to be sold to eligible homebuyers.
The initial Canopy Inclusionary Housing Agreement sets a maximum purchase price (MPP) of $224,000 for inclusionary units. It also sets an average sales price (ASP) of $186,224.
According to the meeting agenda, the proposed amendment to the Canopy Inclusionary Housing Agreement reflects changes in the development’s land use.
Under the amendment, the MPP would stay the same, but the ASP would increase to $199,900. The amendment would also increase the number of required inclusionary units from 62 to 67 units.
Additionally, the amendment would change the City’s obligation to purchase unsold inclusionary units. Under the initial ordinance, the developer would keep an inventory of three model inclusionary units ready for purchase. If these units didn’t sell in 12 months, the City would purchase them to sell later.
“The amendment restarts the clock for the City’s obligation to purchase any inclusionary unit,” staff reports.
According to the amendment, the City would not be required to purchase any inclusionary unit before June 1, 2021.
Because the ASP of inclusionary units would increase under the amendment, staff recommends that the Commissioners also authorize an additional $24,700 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the potential purchase of the units. In 2018, the Commission approved $575,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the same purpose.