Removing regulatory barriers


State and local policymakers should encourage the construction of more housing units to ensure that people of all incomes and ability levels can afford to live in a community. 

This includes encouraging the construction of accessory dwelling units and other missing middle housing, infill housing, and cohousing communities. They should reform land-use regulations and zoning to remove barriers to doing so. They should also increase the use of incentives for building denser multifamily units on smaller lot sizes, particularly in neighborhoods near transit hubs. An example of such an incentive is reduced permitting fees. 

Among the policies they should consider are: 

  • removing or decreasing height and density restrictions, 
  • permitting development on smaller lot sizes, 
  • requiring developers of market-rate housing to set aside a portion of the units for people with low and moderate incomes (known as inclusionary zoning), and 
  • eliminating or reducing parking requirements, especially in areas that are walkable or well-served by public transportation (see also the section on Parking in Chapter 13, Livable Communities). 

The private sector should offer financing options for alternative housing models, including cohousing and accessory dwelling units, that include strong consumer protections. 

Inclusionary zoning units should include deed restrictions to ensure permanent affordability. 

Policymakers should support shared housing programs that expand access to affordable, stable housing options.