Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Density bonus
Density bonus: A density bonus lets a developer build a larger number of market-rate units on a site than would otherwise be permitted in order to provide an incentive for the construction of affordable housing or another public good.
How to Get Started
The Density Bonus Program allows housing developers to build more units on a property than are otherwise permitted, provided that a certain percentage of the total number of the additional units are reserved for low- or moderate-income households. The County of San Diego has four specific density bonus policies.
Some local jurisdictions have adopted inclusionary zoning policies that require or encourage developers to set aside a percentage of the units in housing developments for low- and moderate-income residents. Most inclusionary housing programs offer density bonuses or other incentives to offset the developer’s project costs and compensate for providing affordable units, which may otherwise yield reduced profits. This approach enlists private sector help in contributing to the affordable housing supply, and reduces segregation of affordable and market-rate housing. Examples provided at Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington.
The primary purpose of any density bonus program is to support community goals. Recommended components of a density bonus policy, plus recommended planning tools to assist in implementation of a density bonus program are provided as part of this resource. Learn more at Austin's Planning and Development Review Department.
Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community is a grant product of the Local Government Commission, in cooperation with the US EPA, and sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. This publication highlights the success of nine community led efforts to create vibrant neighborhoods through density; provides readers with an understanding of the connections between smart growth and density; and introduces five time tested design principles to ensure that density becomes a community asset and not a liability. Learn more at: EPA's Creating Great Neighborhoods page.