Lawrence defines affordable housing as part of new incentives policy

When residential developers seeking incentives from the city propose affordable housing units for their project, they will now have an exact target to meet.

The city has decided on a model that specifically calculates fair values for Lawrence rentals, and will define what is affordable for each size of unit.

“I think it gives us a quantifying measure, where we can actually look at something, and instead of just subjectively saying, ‘Oh, I think that is or isn’t affordable,’ we can actually tie it to a fixed market rate we have established,” said City Commissioner Matthew Herbert.

The city’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board recommended using the Fair Market Rent model, and commissioners agreed at their most recent meeting to incorporate the recommendation into the city’s new economic development incentives policy.

For example, the fair value rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lawrence for 2016 is $639 per month, including the cost of required utilities — namely water, electricity and gas, if applicable. For a two-bedroom unit, it’s $835 per month.

(Read more: LJWorld.com / Lawrence, Kansas)