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Housing Committee Briefed on Next Steps to Proceed with Housing Initiatives

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Housing Committee Briefed on Next Steps to Proceed with Housing Initiatives

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Legislature’s special Housing Committee today heard from staff from the County’s Department of Planning and Sustainability on steps to be taken to move forward with four initiatives supported through committee consensus last month.  Deputy Commissioner Megan McDonald and Housing Planner David West laid out action steps that will pursue the key elements identified by the committee:

Enhancing the Community Housing Development Fund:  The County Attorney and Planning staff will develop materials to solicit an opinion from the State Attorney General regarding use of local monies to expand or enhance the fund, including preparing a program outline to add County dollars to the fund.

Support for Municipalities:  Planning staff will develop a proposal for a Municipal Affordable Housing Support Matching Fund that would provide funding to municipalities, as requested, for such purposes as consultant services related to support of affordable housing development and related zoning and infrastructure improvement in Development Focus Areas.

In-fill Analysis:  Planning staff will conduct an in-fill analysis of sites in Development Focus Areas.

At-Risk  Populations:  The County Administrator will continue direct outreach to developers with experience in single-room occupancy facilities and supportive housing for people who would not be served by market rate or typical subsidized affordable housing options, and Planning staff may reach out to other regional developers.

Planning staff will also participate in the “Policy Lab” study, initiated by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, which is performing an expert analysis of prior housing studies and plans to advise on how policy changes and funding resources might be employed to address the county’s housing challenges over the next decade.

The committee also heard a report from Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency Director Nels Bohn regarding City of Ithaca housing initiatives--including the potential to expand the City’s Community Investment Incentive Tax Abatement Program (CIITAP) boundaries to the City’s waterfront district, and to add a requirement that an affordable housing element be included for projects of ten or more units.