are many policies and programs at the state and local levels that can encourage
linkage programs and provide political leverage for them.
Create state level policy that
promotes local linkage programs
While state governments do not establish
linkage fee programs, they can create a policy environment that encourages
local jurisdictions to do so.
- Smart growth planning. Efforts to address sprawling development
increasingly recognize the negative impacts of commercial development
in areas with inadequate affordable housing. State programs to help municipalities
develop balanced growth should promote and encourage linkage fees as an
effective tool to address the jobs/housing mismatch.
- Public subsidy accountability. The movement to challenge decades
of tax giveaways to attract businesses is growing. State policies to increase
accountability from businesses who benefit from the public sector can
legitimize the concept of linkage fees and provide supporting data to
Encourage the development of
regional linkage programs
Jobs-housing imbalances do not occur
only within a municipality. In fact, they are increasingly regional problems.
So when some locales within a region have linkage programs, and others do
not, it creates an uneven playing field in both the economic and affordable
A regional commercial linkage program
would help level that field by creating an equivalent climate for business
in each locale and a regional commitment to housing affordability. Without
cross-jurisdiction collaboration, achieving region- wide balance between
commercial growth and housing production is extremely challenging.
The Chicago region is developing
a regional linkage program where fees are paid by municipalities rather
than developers, calculated from increasing commercial tax bases. (See Tool
in Action section for details.) Other innovations on a regional scale
should be encouraged.
Ensure that local jurisdictions
target resources to affordable housing
Mechanisms to ensure that linkage
fee revenue is dedicated to affordable housing production are critical to
a program's success. If linkage fee revenue goes into a municipality's general
operating budget, the funds are vulnerable to budget crises, and it is more
difficult to ensure that resources are spent on affordable housing.
- Housing Trust Funds. Housing trust funds are public funds established
by legislation, ordinance, or resolution to receive specific revenues,
which can only be spent on housing. They generally have specific income
eligibility requirements for the housing they build.
- Inclusionary Housing. Inclusionary zoning requires or encourages
that a percentage of housing units in new residential developments be
made available for low- and moderate- income households. Inclusionary
housing programs are primarily funded through reducing costs to developers,
as through density bonuses, but they sometimes require additional subsidies.
Linkage programs can provide those funds.
...(Tool in Action)