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August 31, 2017

South Portland council kills affordable housing ordinance

The South Portland City Council killed an ordinance that would have required developments of more than 20 units to include affordable housing, the Forecaster reported.

Modeled on a similar ordinance in Portland, it would have required that developers either set aside 10 percent of units to be affordable for middle-income residents or pay $100,000 per unit to a city fund set aside for affordable housing.

Incentives for developers would have included density bonuses and fee reductions for building more than the required percentage of affordable homes, the Forecaster said.

The ordinance passed unanimously on second reading July 17, but needed five votes to pass in the final reading on Aug. 21, when the vote was 4-2.

Councilors Claude Morgan and Linda Cohen voted against the ordinance without comment. After the first reading, Morgan had said that the ordinance may need extra "sweeteners" for developers to get his vote.

The rental market in South Portland is tight for families of four or more with a median income of below $83,400, Mike Hulsey, director of the South Portland Housing Authority, told a neighborhood group in May, according to a Press Herald report.

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