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Chris Byrne

With the agreement of the city, thedeveloper/project owner pays a sum to the city in lieu of providing the unit. Usually a few tens of thousands of dollars.

In theory, the city uses this as seed money, applies for a grant, and builds a matching or greater number of units of low income housing. In my city that rarely works out.

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Chris, that sounds rather convoluted and optimistic at best. No wonder it rarely works out. Is the onus then on the city once they accept the money?

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Chris Byrne

Yes, it is. The moneys received from the developer/project owner are insufficient to build a complete project (the buy out fee is less than 1 year's rental income). Even when things go well, provision of the low income units lag long behind the "market rate" units. As an example, the city approved a large high-end-market-rate project (Parker Place). The plans were approved with a height, open space and density waivers; the developers paid the fee in lieu of low income units. The city took that money (I'm unsure of the number of units they were 'obligated' to provide, but probably about 6-8?), got some grant funding, and will soon break ground on 10 units for homeless veterans, which is great! Except that Parker Place has been renting for a year now ( a 2 bedrm with rent, fees, utilities is over $4600 per month), and our crying shortage of units that, say, a city school teacher can afford remains untouched.

To add insult to injury, we local residents have now learned that one bedroom apartments in the Parker are being flogged as Luxury Hotel Suites for over $225 per night on services like

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