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Grand Rapids City Commission approves four Housing NOW! recommendations

In an effort to address the affordable housing crisis, the Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday approved four recommendations made by the Grand Rapids Housing Advisory Committee. Titled “Housing NOW!” the  package contains 11 policy proposals. Over two years in the making, the proposals were born out of recommendations made by the Housing Advisory Committee. City Commissioner Jon O'Connor is the Housing Advisory Committee. He says he hopes it sends a message. 

“From the cities perspective, it’s important that folks know that we are paying attention we are listening," O'Connor said.  "And we are going to continue to do everything we can to make sure that there’s additional opportunity in the future for more affordable housing.”

The policy changes, based on the Housing Advisory Committee’s recommendations, are:

  1. Taxation of Assisted Lower-Income Housing Ordinance – Rental housing developments serving low-income households are eligible to receive a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, property tax exemption. This City ordinance was amended to allow property owners of PILOT projects to reduce their annual service fee from 4 percent to 1 percent while contributing an additional 2 percent to a City fund for additional affordable housing initiatives.                                                                                                
  2. Neighborhood Enterprise Zones, or NEZ, City Commission Policy – Amendment of this policy reduces the base level of the tax incentive to nine years with a maximum benefit of 15 years if commitments to housing affordability and other criteria are met.                                                                          
  3. Voluntary Equitable Development Agreements, or VEDA, City Commission Policy – Creation of this policy allows three-party agreements between the City, an investor and a community-based organization. The purpose of a VEDA for a development project is to encourage advancement of community needs concerning issues such as housing, employment and transportation.                                     
  4. Property Partnership Policy – Creation of this City Commission policy allows the City to acquire property interests to increase the availability of affordable housing in Grand Rapids.
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