Toronto City Council’s Executive Committee has adopted a proposal to negotiate an inclusionary zoning deal with a private developer that could lead to 71 affordable rental homes in a waterfront condominium project.
The only dissenting voice on Executive was Mayor Rob Ford, who was quoted in a media report as saying “you don’t use your waterfront for affordable housing.”
The proposal to negotiate with the private developer to ensure that 20% of the housing in the new project is “affordable” (at or below 80% of private market rents) is part of the City of Toronto’s Central Waterfront planning and zoning rules. The East Bayfront condo is the first project to come forward in the new development.
The Wellesley Institute has long called for a city-wide inclusionary housing policy to ensure that a fixed percentage of affordable housing is included in all new developments. Hundreds of US cities use inclusionary zoning rules to ensure that affordable housing is part of new developments.
Working with planning consultant Richard Drdla and community partners, including ACORN Canada, we produced case studies on selected US cities and a guide to implementing inclusionary housing for Canadian municipalities.
The detailed mechanisms used to produce affordable housing under inclusionary zoning plans vary from city to city. Housing experts will be closely following the Toronto negotiations to assess whether the inclusionary deal that is secured for the waterfront affordable housing is a good model for future projects.