NEWS: Inclusionary Zoning in Marin County

The Supreme Court of the US might test the constitutionality of the inclusionary zoning ordinance in Marin County, California. The expensive county, with limited million-dollar housing programs and the highest racial disparities in California, has been the center of debate over inclusionary zoning (IZ), affordable housing and land use for a few years.

The debate over the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning first started in 2000, when two property owners of Marin County, Dartmond and Esther Cherk, wanted to split their undeveloped land into two single-family lots. When their plan was finally approved in 2007, the Cherks fell under the new affordable housing ordinance in Marin County, including IZ. Developed in the 1970s, inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a policy to push the construction of more affordable housing in the private market. The Cherk family was forced by IZ regulations to include a percentage of the property for affordable housing or pay low-income housing production funds of $40.000 while developing residential houses. As a result of the restrictions on developing own property, the Cherks sued the government. (Brasuell, 2019)

Marin County, a county where housing is relatively expensive, showed interest in investigating the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning. Opponents of inclusionary zoning claim that it violates rules of Fifth Amendment which states that “private property shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Also, limiting IZ might cause barriers to fixing land problems in Marin. (Capps, 2019)

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