ULI Washington News

ULI Washington to Analyze Barriers to Housing Affordability in the Region: Impact Task Force will address factors related to land use approval processes and their impact on the supply and cost of homes across the region

ULI Washington has convened a Housing Impact Task Force to address the housing affordability crisis facing the greater Metropolitan Washington Region. Two experienced consultants have been retained to work with the ULI member task force; the task force will advise and oversee research that will address factors related to the region’s optional method entitlement processes.  Of particular interest to the research team is the nexus between community engagement and the development process, and its impact on the supply of homes that are attainable to a wide range of income levels. 

Studies by institutions around the region, including ULI, The Stephen Fuller Institute, and the Urban Institute indicate that the Washington, DC metropolitan region’s population will increase significantly over the next 25-30 years and regional economic growth and prosperity relies on an adequate supply of housing that workers can afford. Without a range of housing choices of different typologies, sizes, and price points, the greater Washington area will face a growing housing affordability crisis and have difficulty providing adequate and affordable housing for younger generations who would like to remain in the District (aging Millennials and Gen Z) as well as difficulty continuing to attract and retain employees to the region to support healthy business growth.  

Successful development requires two critical and related components: navigating the formal local regulatory processes and gaining community support for (or minimizing opposition to) development. This research of this task force will address two elements related to the region’s housing affordability crisis: (1) the role of municipal entitlement, permitting ,and approval processes in facilitating or constraining a diverse range of housing choices attainable to the region’s workforce, with the goal of identifying opportunities to better support broad-based housing affordability, and (2) the extent to which community engagement can lengthen the development process, increase its cost, and impact or discourage the quantity and quality of developing new housing.  

The research process will culminate in a better understanding of the cost and uncertainty associated with process delay, and recommendations for improving the optional method approval processes across the Metropolitan Washington Region. This effort will be informed by a review of current regulations, analysis of quantitative data and qualitative information from interviews/conversations from developers, and a scan of national leading practices. The research will also inform a public stakeholder conference to be held in the fall 2018. 

The Impact Task Force was created to support ULI’s core mission of sharing content on best practices on land development, planning, and community building to enhance understanding of new ideas and strategies to be incorporated into development plans and processes.


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