Inclusionary zoning a potential help to Arizona’s affordable housing needs

Jan 31, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 10:11 am

(File Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...

(File Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(File Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Rents and mortgages are on the rise in Arizona, and the population just keeps growing.

Experts say there’s a need for more affordable housing, and one option to increase that supply could be inclusionary zoning.

“Inclusionary zoning is a policy that either mandates or incentivizes developers to set aside a certain amount of new housing units for affordable housing,” said Allison Cook-Davis with ASU’s Morrison Institute.

In this case, “affordable housing” means housing costing 30% or less of someone’s monthly income, which can be hard for many low-income earners to achieve.

Inclusionary zoning policies have built more than 100,000 affordable units in thousands of jurisdictions around the country – but they can’t be mandated in Arizona.

“Arizona is only one of seven states that prohibits local governments from mandating inclusionary zoning,” Cook-Davis said.

The decision to ban mandatory inclusionary zoning policies in 2015 was largely preemptive.

“Arizona had not yet started to feel the impacts of housing affordability, but a lot of other states had,” said Alan Stephenson, director of the Phoenix Planning and Development Department.

“There were some concerns about trying to bring some of those other ideas here [to Arizona], so the state legislature wanted to prevent that.”

Despite that, there are still programs in Arizona for developers to propose building affordable housing of their own volition.

“There’s no prohibition against that because it’s a straight business transaction,” Stephenson said. “Does the developer wish to get the government’s money by meeting certain requirements? It happens all the time.”

However, mandatory inclusionary zoning still remains against the law.

Stephenson said that could change at some point if new members of the Legislature had different ideas about how to deal with the need for affordable housing.

“If it’s just about a great business climate and not balancing some quality regulations that create better quality of life for the people that live here, then it’s not going to be much of a place to invest in longterm,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of an Arizona Department of Public Safety vehicle. Two wrong-way collisions, including o...

Kevin Stone

State trooper injured in wrong-way collision on West Valley highway

Two wrong-way collisions, including one that injured a state trooper, occurred late Thursday and early Friday on West Valley roadways.

7 hours ago

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 85-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was issued for an 85-year-old man with a medical condition last seen in Phoenix.

7 hours ago

Desert Ridge Marketplace place will be almost fully leased with the addition of four new tenants in...

Kevin Stone

Sephora, country bar among latest Desert Ridge Marketplace additions

Desert Ridge Marketplace place will be almost fully leased with the addition of four new tenants in the next year.

7 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Brandon Gray

Phoenix police seek public input on updated Use of Force draft policy

The Phoenix Police Department has updated its Use of Force draft policy and is asking the public and employees for more input.

7 hours ago

(Flickr Photo/ADOT)...

East Valley drivers to be hit hard with weekend freeway closures

Drivers in the East Valley will be the most prone to weekend freeway closures, according to state transportation officials.

7 hours ago

(Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images and Facebook Photo/Gilbert Farmers Market)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for June 9-11

Looking for something to do this weekend? There's national outlet shopping day, farmers markets and events celebrating Pride month.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

Inclusionary zoning a potential help to Arizona’s affordable housing needs