Inclusionary Zoning


Burlington Inclusionary Zoning Report

In October 2015, Burlington City Council unanimously adopted the Housing Action Plan (HAP) which contains 22 proposals for building a more affordable, inclusive, livable, walkable, sustainable and vibrant community. One proposal called for the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) working with the City Council Community Development & Neighborhood Revitalization (CDNR) Committee to hire “a consultant to evaluate the impact of the IZ Ordinance on new housing construction and to identify changes to the Ordinance that would render it a more effective tool for meeting both low-and moderate-income and workforce housing needs.”

On January 31, 2017, the evaluation report on Burlington’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance was presented to the CDNR Committee. The evaluation, undertaken by czb, LLC, a Virginia-based urban planning consulting firm, represents the first detailed review of the City’s 26-year-old Inclusionary Zoning policy.

The City and CDNR Committee would like to thank all those members of the public who participated in last week’s meeting and invite further comment on the draft IZ evaluation report. Comments may be sent via email to Gillian Nanton, Assistant Director, Sustainability, Housing & Economic Development, CEDO at

The report includes numerous findings and recommendations and will be the subject of further debate and discussion in the weeks and months ahead. A working group is being established to review and consider the recommendations contained in the report.  One recommendation on which the City is already moving forward with is a monitoring system of applicable projects to ensure compliance with the IZ Ordinance. See Mayor Weinberger's memorandum regarding Inclusionary Zoning monitoring, as well as CEDO's memorandum regarding the City's proposed monitoring system to improve enforcement. 

The IZ report can be found here

Presentation slides of the IZ report can be found here.

You may view public comments on the Inclusionary Zoning Evaluation here and here.


Background on Inclusionary Zoning

Burlington is largely “built-out.”  A combination of limiting geography, conservation efforts by local residents and a thriving job market has led to a persistent “housing affordability and availability crisis.”  In response, Burlington adopted its inclusionary zoning program in 1990 as part of its broader housing strategy.

Burlington was the first locally initiated inclusionary zoning program to index its affordable housing set-aside to the price of the market-rate homes. Many believe this tiered approach, also utilized by Santa Fe, is the most effective for local governments. Another first for Burlington was the 99 year or permanent control period. Longer control periods are one of the national trends among newer locally initiated programs. The program allows any density bonus to be used for commercial purposes in mixed-use developments – a flexible incentive that is likely valuable to developers.

Program Overview

The program applies to all new market-rate developments of 5 or more homes and to any converted non-residential structures that result in at least 10 homes.  The affordable housing set aside is 15 to 25% of the units, depending on the average price of the market-rate homes – with the higher percentage placed on the most expensive developments.  The ordinance does not allow fee in-lieu payments or land donations, but will allow developers to provide the affordable housing off-site at 125% of the on-site obligation.  The ordinance provides a range of incentives including fee waivers and a 15-25% density and lot coverage bonus. Affordable homes are targeted to households earning 75% or less area median income (AMI) and rented at 65% or less AMI.  Developers can sale or rent the homes for more as long as the average of affordable homes sold or rented are at or below the target household income.  Affordable homes are price controlled for 99 years.


Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, Appendix A, Article 9, Part 1

2018-2019 Inclusionary Zoning Maximum Rents effective 5/18/2018

2017-2018 Inclusionary Zoning Maximum Rents effective 5/31/2017

2016-2017 Inclusionary Zoning Maximum Rents

Inclusionary Zoning Unit Inventory 7/28/2016 (used for Evaluation of the City of Burlington's Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance report, dated January 2017)

Inclusionary Zoning Unit Inventory 3/2/2017