City staff on Wednesday recommended revisions to policies that incentivize residential development in the urban core with a goal of encouraging more affordable housing.

City Council met for nearly three hours to discuss potential changes to the Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP) and Inner City Reinvestment/Infill Policy (ICRIP).

While most Council members said they support extending policies that incentivize development, some questioned whether the changes would in fact increase affordable housing in the downtown area and elsewhere.

Assistant City Manager Lori Houston presented the proposed revisions Council could consider for action as early as its Dec. 6 regular meeting. Some revisions to ICRIP include:

  • Changing the name of ICRIP to the City of San Antonio Fee Waiver Program;
  • Ensuring the fee waiver program applies only to affordable housing, owner-occupied rehabilitation, historic rehabilitation, and small business development, especially longstanding “legacy” businesses;
  • Measures that ensure a single project does not end up with a disproportionate share of ICRIP funding.

Recommended changes to CCHIP include:

  • Extending the program at least another two years to help the City collect data and evaluate the market and results of awarded incentives;
  • Aligning the program with goals and priorities outlined in the SA Tomorrow comprehensive plan and the policy framework based on the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force recommendations;
  • Reducing the square mileage of the CCHIP eligibility area by 50 percent and eliminating low- and medium-density neighborhoods to curb demolition of existing single-family homes for multi-family units;
  • Introducing a two-tier system where incentives would be considered based on different factors, including the level of density proposed in a for-sale or rental development.