The City of Raleigh is considering commissioning a report on strategies for increasing the affordability of both subsidized and un-subsidized housing. City staff has summarized housing studies commissioned by the City and various regional partners over the last decade. Those studies are briefly summarized below. Photo credit: Raleigh Area Land Trust.
CITY OF RALEIGH STUDIES
ULI Triangle Technical Assistance Panel on Inclusionary Zoning (2012) https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showpublisheddocument/19264/635485371912800000
Late in the drafting process of the UDO, the City contracted with ULI Triangle to convene a panel to advise on the potential to add bonus-based inclusionary housing provisions to the UDO. The panel concluded that it was not possible to underwrite the subsidy needed for affordable housing through bonuses alone—additional sources of subsidy would be needed. The panel focused on the potential for TIF financing to be part of the capital stack for inclusionary projects.
Recommendations for including affordable housing in RFPs for City land, and direct acquisition of affordable housing sites in TOD locations, have been implemented by the City. Synthetic TIF financing has yet to be used for affordable housing in Raleigh and presents several complications making other tools preferred.
Affordable Housing Improvement Plan (2015) https://cityofraleigh0drupal.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/drupal-prod/COR19/AffordableHousingImprovementPlan.pdf
This 2015 document has formed the core of the City’s affordable housing strategy since its adoption in 2015. Seven options for increasing housing production and preservation were presented, and all were acted upon, including a dedicated general fund allocation to create a sustainable fund to supporting greater deployment of the 4% LIHTC program in the City, among other activities. Affordable production increased dramatically as a result.
Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Guidebook (2019) https://cityofraleigh0drupal.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/drupal-prod/COR22/EDATGuidebook.pdf
This report was the primary output of the Equitable Development Around Transit (EDAT) project, which was a system-wide look at how to guide development around the City’s future transit areas to both support transit and make the new services accessible to all. The report is comprehensive, covering topics beyond housing, but has a significant focus on new tools to support affordability along future BRT lines and the frequent transit network. The major housing-related recommendations have largely been implemented—two new/revised zoning districts for TOD areas that include affordable housing height bonuses; removal of parking requirements; and creation of funding for site acquisition, among others.
Wake County Affordable Housing Plan (2017)
In 2016, Wake County hired HR&A Advisors to develop a countywide, 20-year affordable housing strategy. As stated in the report: “The goal of the process was to identify strategies to preserve and produce affordable housing and address the growing housing crisis in Wake County, as well as engage local municipalities grappling with the same issues on a smaller scale.” The report focused on County actions including building increased capacity in County government but contained two land use recommendations encompassing Wake’s municipalities: establish affordable housing incentive zoning overlays and provide more opportunities for accessory dwelling units. Raleigh has implemented both recommendations in the new TOD and TOD-R overlay district and by permitting ADUs on residential lots citywide through a 2020 text change.
Triangle J Council of Governments Publications (various)
TJ COG has published five housing-focused white papers and information resources:
Close to Home: Affordable Housing Analysis of Triangle Passenger Rail Corridor (2021). A comprehensive inventory of both Legally Binding Affordability Restricted (LBAR) and naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) along the proposed Greater Triangle Commuter Rail corridor. The report identifies 28,000 such units across both categories. The report also recommends metrics for tracking efforts to preserve and produce affordable housing in station areas.
Utilizing 4% Tax Credits (2017). Info sheet for municipalities interested in making use of the under-subscribed 4% LIHTC program managed by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. Raleigh is cited as a successful example in the Triangle.
Affordable Rental Housing Report & Strategy Toolbox (2017). Prepared specifically for the municipalities of Goldston, Pittsboro, Siler City and the Chatham County, this report provides a compendium of affordable rental housing tools and recommendations targeted towards these local governments.
Supporting Affordable Homeownership in the Triangle (2018). This 59-page report is a comprehensive survey of every tool, existing or prospective, to support affordable homeownership opportunities.
Local Regulation of Short-Term Rentals (2018). This report summarizes the short-term rental regulations of Asheville, Blowing Rock, Brevard, Cornelius, Raleigh, and Wilmington (Raleigh’s regulations were not adopted at the time, and were later scrapped in favor of a less restrictive ordinance). The report also contains an analysis of the policy justification and legality of such regulations.
Wake County Unsheltered Homeless Facility Study
Wake County has issued an RFP for consulting services for an unsheltered homeless facility. Proposals were due on December 13 and work is expected to commence in March of 2023. The study includes an analysis of existing and future conditions; a facility study and proposal of strategies; and identification of desired outcomes.
Update to Raleigh’s Affordable Housing Improvement Plan
Raleigh’s 2015 plan led to a dramatic increase in affordable housing production. The City has retained HR&A Advisors to update the plan for the next five years, reflective of the 2020 Affordable Housing Bond. In addition to the plan update, the scope for the project includes extensive community engagement and facilitation, and a comprehensive assessment of existing conditions and practices. Included in this latter task are a review of existing plans and current programs, identification of housing barriers, and the identification and development of new and refined strategies for affordable housing.
North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) – Study of Housing Affordability Options
There is a bi-partisan working group within the NCGA assessing options for legislative action that addresses housing affordability; this effort is recently underway and is evaluating opportunities in advance of the upcoming (2023) “long session” of the NCGA.