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Halifax council to consider policy requiring ‘affordable’ housing in new development

A new policy headed to council next week would require affordable housing in new developments, but just how affordable they’ll be is up for debate.

Inclusionary zoning would lower the price of a percentage of homes in a new building. There are varying approaches to the idea in use across North America, with both voluntary and mandatory programs and different percentages set aside at different rates.

Council requested the authority to use inclusionary zoning in December 2016 with a report suggesting HRM could create up to 250 new affordable units annually. After years of delay, the government passed amendments to the municipal charter in October 2021 to allow HRM to use inclusionary zoning.

In a report headed to council on Tuesday, planner Jamy-Ellen Proud recommended finally starting the process to adopt inclusionary zoning. Proud’s report is based on the recommendations of a consultant hired to conduct research on the subject.

“Inclusionary zoning programs have proven to be an effective tool to produce more affordable housing by leveraging private housing development,” Proud wrote.

“Existing programs in Canada and throughout the United States demonstrate that well-designed inclusionary zoning programs can have a significant, positive impact on housing affordability, without triggering increases to the price of market housing.” …[Read More]