Responding to Changing Households: Regulatory Challenges for Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units
In many areas of the country, the existing stock of rental housing falls significantly short of the need, both in terms of affordability and the sizes and configurations of available housing matching the needs of prospective tenants. In response to these and other concerns, a number of jurisdictions have revised their regulations to permit the development of more compact rental housing units, including both accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and micro-units.This paper provides a detailed analysis of the regulatory and other challenges to developing both ADUs and micro-units, focusing on five cities: New York; Washington, D.C.; Austin; Denver; and Seattle. This research was conducted as part of the What Works Collaborative. For more, see the accompanying research brief, Compact Units: Demand and Challenges; download a zip file with city-level data; or view the press release.
This report details the untapped potential for NYC’s transferable air rights program, a critical tool for high-density housing development in New York City. Using case study examples, the report outlines limitations to the city’s current TDR policies and suggests a policy approach that could unlock millions of square feet of unused air rights to help produce more affordable housing.
Transferable Development Rights (TDR) programs allow property owners to sell unused development capacity at their property and transfer it to another site, where it is typically used to increase the permitted size of a development. In recent years, New York City has enacted programs that use TDRs in increasingly sophisticated ways. These uses share three common attributes: an increased focus on directing the location and density at sites that receive development rights; the use of TDRs as an integral component of more comprehensive rezoning initiatives; and the creation of regulatory incentives that strengthen the market for TDRs. In this essay, we conclude that TDRs in New York can no longer be understood just as a creative mechanism to soften the effect of rigid zoning restrictions, but should also be recognized as a tool land use decision makers increasingly use in place of, or in tandem with, upzonings, bonuses, and other devices for increasing density.
This report summarizes a Feb. 14, 2011 Institute for Affordable Housing Policy roundtable on affirmative marketing of affordable housing in Westchester County. The Furman Center received grant funding to provide independent research and expert assistance on implementation of a federal housing settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Westchester must develop at least 750 affordable housing units in municipalities with overwhelmingly white populations, and must affirmatively market this housing in geographic areas with significant non-white populations. The roundtable and this review explores strategies to identify and reach potential residents, with an aim of providing insight for Westchester County in the implementation of its obligations under the settlement, as well as to provide guidance to other municipalities that share the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.