Robert C. Larson Award Winner: Palm Beach County, Florida
June 10, 2015
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
Program: Workforce Housing Program
Institution: Palm Beach County Government
Palm Beach County’s Workforce Housing Program (WHP) is an inclusionary zoning program that calls for the creation of workforce housing units within market-rate residential projects of 10 or more units. The program creates units affordable to households earning between 60% and 140% of the area median income, working households that are not eligible for typical affordable housing subsidies and yet still struggle to afford housing in Palm Beach County where housing costs have increased much faster than incomes.
As an inclusionary zoning program serving a wide band of household incomes, WHP promotes economic integration while increasing the supply of affordable housing with minimal public subsidy. The program, which was developed collaboratively by a task force made up of 11 representatives from the development community and county government, provides flexibility to builders and developers to build units on-site or to choose from four different off-site options. In return, developers are eligible for incentives such as bonus density and faster development processing.
The program to date has approved the creation of 1,420 workforce housing units in 36 developments, 759 of which have already been completed. In order to promote long-term affordability, rental units have a 30 year affordability period and for-sale units have a 15 year recurring affordability period (if sold within 15 years, a new period begins).