Madison, WI Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Program

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Madison, WI, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


Land use applications received after the date of adoption (July 21, 2006) will now be governed by the new ordinance (Subsection 26). Land use applications in process as of that date will be governed by the former ordinance (Subsection 25).

All owner-occupied inclusionary units, after the qualifying sale, shall be governed by the new Subsection 26(c)9 — a streamlined option to purchase, and new equity terms. This replaces the former ordinance subsection dealing with an option to purchase and homebuyer terms.

What is Inclusionary Zoning?
Inclusionary zoning is a policy tool that relies on zoning laws to encourage or require developers to provide affordable units in their new housing developments, usually in exchange for greater flexibility in zoning regulations, or increases in density or other benefits. State laws form the statutory basis for many local governmental zoning powers, and these vary greatly from state to state.

Most inclusionary zoning ordinances deal with the creation of moderately priced dwelling units, not very low income housing such as "public housing". Most ordinances help create new housing units affordable to workers like teachers and nurses and clerical staff, households earning incomes which in the Madison area would translate to incomes of roughly $35,000 to $55,000 per year.

Madison's ordinance states its purpose is to further the availability of the range of housing choices for families of all income levels in all areas of the City. The Council acted on the judgment that a full range of housing options promotes diverse and thriving neighborhoods, schools, and communities, and aids in the recruitment and retention of businesses and their employees, each of which contributes to the overall economic well-being of the City.

Covered Developments
To achieve these goals, the Council expects that every development meeting the necessary qualifications will offer housing at rents or sales prices affordable to people at 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), adjusted for household size. In return, the City offers a range of incentives to developers, from greater density to consideration for reductions in park fees, to special financial assistance or variances in parking requirements.

Brochure Download (PDF format): ABCs of Inclusionary Zoning for Madison Developers and Builders.

City Agencies
The following City agencies are involved in the inclusionary zoning (IZ) process:

Planning Unit
The mission of the Planning Unit is to prepare and implement the City's urban development policies to promote the orderly development of the City.

Building Inspection Unit - Zoning Section
The mission of the Zoning Section of the Building Inspection Unit is to protect the character and maintain the stability of residential, commercial, manufacturing and other areas by regulating the location, intensity, and use of buildings, structures, and land in accordance with the Zoning Code.

CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Office The mission of the CDBG Office is to improve the quality of life for residents of the City of Madison, including the development of affordable housing and the improvement of the access of low- and moderate-income people to housing information and resources.