Exploring Inclusionary Zoning as an Affordable Housing Tool
The lack of sufficient affordable housing is an issue in Hamilton, across the Province, and more broadly across Canada. The City of Hamilton is exploring the feasibility of adopting a tool known as Inclusionary Zoning to help increase the supply of affordable housing locally.
Inclusionary Zoning requires new market rate residential development within a Protected Major Transit Station Area (PMTSA) to include a certain percentage of new affordable housing units. Inclusionary Zoning is one tool that could help increase the supply of more affordable housing units in the City over the long term.
How Does Inclusionary Zoning Work in Ontario?
Ontario Regulation 232/18 under the Planning Act was enacted in April 2018 by the Province of Ontario. The regulation allows municipalities to secure affordable housing in new residential developments with more than 10 units that are located within a PMTSA.
Inclusionary Zoning policies must be carefully designed to ensure that residential development continues to be viable and does not significantly disrupt the supply of market rate housing. Inclusionary Zoning policies can include a range of measures to reduce the financial impact of providing affordable units on the private development industry. These measures may include phasing in Inclusionary Zoning requirements, establishing more permissive planning regulations (e.g. increased height, increased density, reduced parking requirements etc.), or providing financial incentives, among others.
Before a municipality can adopt an Inclusionary Zoning policy framework, the Province requires municipalities to conduct a detailed assessment of the potential impacts Inclusionary Zoning may have on the overall housing market within the City.