Affordable Housing

I support both affordable housing bills that are on 3rd reading on September 6. This includes the inclusionary housing bill and the Mayor’s incentives bill. These have been discussed at length at many Council committee meetings, and both the development community and the housing advocacy community have participated extensively. Both bills will have a final amendment come out, probably tomorrow.

To me, the end product is a small, cautious experiment that cannot possibly hurt the market, and may give Nashville a real opportunity to produce new affordable and workforce housing.

It is a small experiment because it is limited to just $2 million (plus any “in lieu of” fees collected by the program). With the size of our economy, $2 million can only be described as a discrete pilot program.

These bills – especially the Mayor’s incentives bill – have been crafted to make developers whole. The bills will always pay cash incentives in exchange for affordable/workforce units. This is capitalism not socialism, folks. I give the Mayor’s office, especially Matt Wiltshire, credit for having extensive conversations with the development community and major national multi-family housing lenders to see exactly what format the incentives would need to take to be useful for developers. I think the end product is innovative, and will probably end up being copied in other cities.

The bottom line is that this is a small experiment. Let’s pull the trigger and see how it works.

Bob Mendes

Bob Mendes represents all of Nashville as a Council-At-Large member of Nashville’s Metro Council. He is Chair of the Council’s Charter Revision Committee, a member of the Metropolitan Audit Committee, and a member of the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, Rules & Confirmations Committee, and Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. Bob also practices business law at Waypoint Law PLLC. Bob’s complete bio is here. You can follow Bob @mendesbob.