Affordable housing, TOD, and the UK
Aaron Miripol, president and CEO of the Denver based Urban Land Conservancy, covered the challenges for affordable housing development in these areas. The ability to achieve high enough density development, especially considering outmoded parking requirements, makes it difficult to deliver affordable housing on these high value sites; holding land for any length of time is equally challenging. Tony Pickett, executive director of the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative, pointed to a number of existing and emerging policy tools that could be employed to assist in the development of shared equity-affordable housing: tax increment funding with a set-aside for an affordable housing fund, inclusionary zoning, and federal assistance such as CDBG and HOME funds for transit station development. He underscored the need for community land trusts to build coalitions with other groups who can lend technical expertise and political support to develop appropriate polices.
The Lincoln Institute, which has a longstanding joint venture partnership with the National CLT Network, is sponsoring the development of a working paper on this topic and researchers and members of the paper advisory committee were in attendance.
Another notable theme at the conference, says Armando Carbonell, has been an upsurge of CLTs, an American invention, in England. The National CLT Network's Catherine Harrington and David Brown of the High Bickington Community Property Trust reported that there are now more than 100 CLTs in England, with over 200 housing units built and another 60 under construction. In keeping with the "other community uses" definition of CLTs, Brown proudly reported on the acquisition of the Butchers Arms pub as part of a CLT, preserving what was regarded locally as a vital community resource.
Up until July of this year, when London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the East London CLT, all of the English CLTs had been rural. The East London project, reported on by Director Dave Smith, is on the site of St. Clement's Hospital, which closed in 2005. Market housing prices in the area average more than $500,000 creating an acute need for affordable housing. Two-hundred and twenty homes will be built on the 4.5 acre site, with 35 percent affordable -- in contrast to inclusionary housing requirements that have been reduced from 50 percent down to as low as 22 percent in other projects. The freehold will be held by the Ricardo trust, named for British economist David Ricardo. Success in winning approval for the East London CLT has spurred confidence within the network that CLTs will play a significant role in creating affordable housing on the London Olympics site, for which a proposal is pending.