MEREDA’s “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event: How Should Portland Address its Workforce Housing Needs? What is the problem and is Inclusionary Zoning the right solution?

BreakfastLogoInclusionary Zoning is a policy that requires a certain percentage of units in any housing development over a certain size to be offered at affordable rates for median income households. Usually, Inclusionary Zoning is offered with a package of other incentives to offset the financial impact to developers and the occupants of the market rate units.

The City of Portland is proposing the adoption of Inclusionary Zoning with minor consideration of incentives to offset the impact. Without sufficient offsets, Inclusionary Zoning has the potential to reduce new housing supply. Other cities with Inclusionary Zoning have adopted offsetting incentives such as Tax Increment Financing Districts, height, density or other zoning bonuses, municipal bond financing, and allowing the required affordable units to be built off-site but elsewhere in the city.

Does Inclusionary Zoning address the root causes of high costs of housing such as high land costs, lack of available sites, cumbersome permitting processes and other burdens on economical development? Is it logical to predict that Inclusionary Zoning without offsetting incentives will stall and deter housing development in Portland? Is Inclusionary Zoning even with incentives the most effective policy to accomplish more median-income housing in Portland? Should we also consider other methods?

What exactly is the problem, and what are “right sized” solutions that will work best for all?

Please join the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) at its next “Morning Menu” breakfast event for an informative discussion of these questions and more on March 12 from 7:30 – 9:15 AM at the Portland Regency Hotel in Portland, ME.

Our Panelists include:

Caroline Paras, Economic and Community Planner, Greater Portland Council Of Governments – Author of “2030 Workforce Housing Demand”

Jeff Levine, City of Portland, Director of Planning & Urban Development Department

Jonathan Culley, Redfern Properties, Developer

Jim Brady, Local Real Estate Developer

Chris O’Neil, Portland City Hall Liaison, Portland Community Chamber

Our panel of experts will be moderated by Andrea Cianchette Maker, MEREDA Public Policy Counsel, and Partner and Chair of Government Relations Practice at Pierce Atwood.

For more information and to register, visit

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