Inclusionary Zoning & Incentives


In most states local jurisdictions can require a percentage of housing in new multiple unit housing projects to be affordable to low and moderate income houses. This is known as "Inclusionary Zoning."  Some places also allow developers the option of making a payment to a local fund for affordable housing.

However, this common practice is illegal in Oregon as of 1999 due to pressure from the real estate and developer lobbies. The Oregon Housing Alliance 2007 Legislative Agenda included the reinstatement of inclusionary zoning but the measure did not pass. 

The practice is legal in Washington State but many jurisdictions do not have policies/regulations in place.  Bainbridge Island, for instance, has just done an exhaustive survey to develop a workable policy requiring that 15% of projects with 5 or more units be affordable.  They have also have tied it to Community Housing Trusts; i.e. all affordable housing in development must be through a CLT.

On the other hand, the City of Bend is showing that their innovative incentives for developers to provide a range of housing types and prices that are at least as effective as inclusionary requirements.  In order to be sure the program covered all the bases and had buy-in from all the stakeholders, the committee coming up with the incentives sensibly had representatives from the:

  • Builders association
  • Realtors association
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local lending institution
  • Affordable housing developer
  • Tenant organization
  • Oregon Dept of Housing and Community services
  • Two at large members. 

The incentives they came up with include the following with the exact amounts determined by percentage of a development within specific guidelines & definitions of "affordable:"

  • Expedited permit processing
  • Planning and building permit fee exemptions
  • Systems development charges loans
  • Systems development charges deferrals
  • Density bonuses
  • Off site improvement assistance



City of Bend - Jim Long, CDBG/Affordable Housing Manager, (541-312-4915 or  - Their website has lists of their incentive program, the ordinance relating to it. This downloadable PDF is a presentation Jim Long gave at the 2007Clatsop County Housing Solutions Conference

Oregon Housing Alliance - get on their list serve for information about this and other Oregon housing legislation.  They are part of the Neighborhood Partnership Fund (1020 SW Taylor, Suite 680, Portland, OR 97205)  or 503-226-3001.

Field Guide to Inclusionary Zoning by the National Association of Realtors has good links to general resources. You can contact NAR's Information Central at 1-800-874-6500.

Current Issues in Inclusionary Zoning - American Bar Association, Section of State and Local Government Law - a 2006 Report of the Inclusionary Zoning Subcommittee of the Land Use Committee by Cecily T. Talbert, Nadia L. Costa & Alison L. Krumbein.   Available from: Oregon Alliance for Land Use and Affordable Housing (OALUA at <> or call 503-452-3997)

Impact of Zoning on Development (Downloadable PDF) by Nicholas Brunick published by Business & Professional People for the Public Interest. (25 E Washington Street, Suite 1515, Chicago, Illinois 60602   (312) 641-5570 or 

Nine Lessons for Inclusionary Zoning - Keynote Remarks of David Rusk to the National Inclusionary Housing Conference -Washington, DC October 5, 2005

Inclusive Housing: Designing a Program That Works by David Rosen, Ph.D. November 30, 2006 at Kulshan Community Land Trust in Bellingham.

The State of Massachusets has a comprehensive toolkit section on Inclusionary Zoning that is covered on their website for their Smart Growth, Smart Energy Program.  In fact it's worth checking out for all zoning and energy issues.



  • Support Legislative changes in Oregon to allow inclusionary zoning
  • Develop inclusionary zoning ordinances in states such as Washington where it is permitted.
  • Provide incentives to local developers.