City Atty Says Affordable Housing Plan Illegal
Will legal opinion kill the proposal? Or can Bauman and company rework the language?
A proposed affordable housing mandate is already getting its first test. The office of independently-elected City Attorney Grant Langley has issued a legal opinion that says a major portion of the ordinance would violate state law.
The proposal would require developers building privately-financed apartment buildings with 20 or more units to set aside 10 percent of all new units for residents making less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. It would raise that threshold to 20 percent when the project receives city financial support.
The City Attorney’s letter cites state statue 66.1015, which prohibits municipal rent control, and a 2006 court case involving a city of Madison inclusionary zoning ordinance, to reach an opinion that the mandate for all privately-financed development would violate state law. But the opinion does state that any projects receiving public financing support could be subject to such requirements legally.
In short, Bauman and other council members could tweak the legislation to a more incentive based structure or find other creative ways to achieve their goals. Bauman is an attorney himself.
In an email to Urban Milwaukee after this article was first published, Bauman states “Modifying ordinance as we speak. City Attorney opinion useful in that they focused on state law restrictions so we and other people concerned about certain neighborhoods being left behind during the building boom know the parameters of what policy options exist.”
Urban Milwaukee broke the news of the controversial proposal on Tuesday.
This proposal would cover part or all of the neighborhoods of East Town, Westown, the Lower East Side, The Brewery, Historic Third Ward and Walker’s Point. The ordinance defines the boundaries of the proposal as “beginning at the intersection of Interstate 43 and West McKinley Avenue, West McKinley Avenue, the Milwaukee River, East North Avenue and East North Avenue extended, Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River, the Kinnickinnic River, East and West Greenfield Avenue, and Interstate 43 to the point of beginning.”
For more details on the ordinance see our coverage from Tuesday.
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