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St. Charles to change affordable housing policy

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 5:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 10:54 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles City Council is expected to soon change the way the city will ensure its affordable housing stock is above the state’s 10 percent minimum requirement.

Aldermen in committee this week unanimously recommended approval of a measure that would create a sliding scale adjusting the number of required affordable housing units in new residential developments based on the percentage of the city’s affordable housing stock.

Under the sliding scale, developers would be required to build more affordable units when the city’s existing stock is low and would be required to build fewer units when the stock is high.

The new policy wouldn’t require affordable units when the city’s affordable housing stock is 25 percent or more, and the affordable housing rules would be reinstated if the city’s inventory falls below 15 percent.

Other changes include creating a new way for developers to ask for deviations from the requirements. Current policy channels such requests through the PUD process, which pertains to physical deviations of a site plan, city planner Matt O’Rourke said.

“It just didn’t make sense to keep it there,” he said.

Developers instead would submit an alternative affordable housing plan, which should detail the developer’s plans to create affordable housing opportunities in St. Charles. Options include seeking alternative funding sources and purchasing off-site units.

“There has to be at least some effort to provide alternative housing opportunities in St. Charles,” O’Rourke said.

City leaders will evaluate requests on criteria such as financial hardship, site limitations and site conditions.

The City Council is expected to approve the policy changes Tuesday, O’Rourke said.

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