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Making Housing Affordable: Breaking Down Regulatory Barriers - A Self-Assessment Guide for States



Release Date: 
March 1994 (100 pages)
Posted Date:   
March 1, 1994



Regulatory barriers have long been recognized as a leading cause of high housing costs and limited housing choice for lower income families. Congress has placed emphasis on this issue by requiring States to address regulatory barriers in drafting their Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategies (CHAS) and by authorizing a grant program under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 that assists States in preparing strategies to identify and remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing. This publication is intended to serve as a guide for meeting the requirements of both CHAS and the regulatory barrier grant program. The guide suggests that States first determine the nature and extent of affordability problems within their jurisdictions by comparing, for example, HUD's calculation of fair market rents with prevailing wage rates. Once affordability problems have been identified, the guide proposes that States evaluate their overall planning practices. It specifically recommends that States consider requiring local governments to develop comprehensive plans¦subject to State review¦and that such plans encourage the development of affordable housing. Moreover, planning approaches could include the use of regional "fair share," and States could institute programs to provide intensives to local governments to implement regulatory reform. As a part of their review, States also need to identify practices that create regulatory barriers, such as in the areas of zoning, land development and site planning, building codes and standards, infrastructure, administration and processing, and impact fees. The guide provides a question-and-answer checklist in each of these areas to evaluate statutes, policies, and regulations. Following each checklist, the guide offers specific strategies for ameliorating regulatory barriers. Specific techniques for achieving each strategy are also recommended.


This report is part of the collection of scanned historical documents available to the public.