In 2018, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted legislation that requires cities and villages with populations of 10,000 people or more to prepare two housing related reports by January 1, 2020. These reports include a housing affordability report and a new housing fee report. The reports must be posted on the municipality’s website, and the housing affordability report must be updated annually no later than January 31.
Housing Affordability Report Requirements and SEWRPC Assistance
The housing affordability report relates to the implementation of the housing element of a municipality’s comprehensive plan. Wisconsin’s comprehensive planning law (set forth in Section 66.1001 of the Wisconsin Statutes) requires cities, villages, towns, and counties that engage in land use regulation to adopt a comprehensive plan with nine elements, including a housing element. The comprehensive planning law requires the housing element to include a compilation of goals, objectives, policies, programs, and maps of the local government unit to provide an adequate housing supply that meets the local government’s existing and forecasted housing demand. This includes policies and programs that promote the development of a range of housing choices for people of all income levels, age groups, and needs. The comprehensive planning law also requires the housing element to include a wide range of data regarding the local government’s housing stock.
Section 66.10013 of the Wisconsin Statutes sets forth the requirements for housing affordability reports. The Statutes require municipalities with populations of 10,000 people or more to report on development activity and analyze the impact of their residential development regulations on the cost of developing new housing. SEWRPC can provide the following assistance with preparing housing affordability reports.
SEWRPC will work with the municipality to analyze the municipality’s residential development regulations, such as land use controls, site improvement requirements, fees and land dedication requirements, and permit procedures. SEWRPC will use regional housing plan recommendations as the basis for the analysis, as applicable. Per Section 66.10013 of the Statutes, the analysis shall calculate the financial impact that each regulation has on the cost of each new subdivision. The analysis shall also identify ways in which the municipality can modify its construction and development regulations, lot sizes, approval processes, and related fees to do each of the following:
- Meet existing and forecast housing demand
- Reduce the time and cost necessary to approve and develop a new residential subdivision in the municipality by 20 percent
In addition to the analysis required by the Statutes, SEWRPC will also include an analysis of the municipality’s residential development regulations as they relate to the development of multifamily housing in the housing affordability report. SEWRPC will use regional housing plan recommendations as the basis for this analysis.
When the required inventory and analysis work is completed, SEWRPC will draft the housing affordability report and provide the municipality with a PDF to post on its website. Section 66.10013 of the Statutes requires the municipality to post the report on a dedicated webpage titled “Housing Affordability Analysis.” SEWRPC can assist with preparing initial reports and annual updates. To complete the report, the municipality will need to provide much of the development activity data, which include:
- The number of subdivision plats, certified survey maps, condominium plats, and building permit applications approved in the prior year
- The total number of new residential dwelling units proposed in those applications
- A list and map of undeveloped parcels in the municipality that are zoned for residential development (SEWRPC can assist with preparing the map)
- A list of all undeveloped parcels in the municipality that are suitable for, but not zoned for, residential development, including vacant sites and sites that have potential for redevelopment, and a description of zoning requirements and availability of public facilities and services for each property
For more information about SEWRPC assistance with preparing housing affordability reports, please contact:
Ben McKay, AICP
Request for Exemption from State Mandates
If your community has not already requested assistance from SEWRPC and does not have the staff capacity to complete the report, there may be an opportunity to apply for a waiver that could be effective for up to four years. As reported by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the City of River Falls successfully applied to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) for a temporary waiver under Section 66.0143 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The City cited a lack of capacity and resources to complete the report by January 1, 2020, in its application, and also emphasized that it had recently completed a comprehensive housing needs analysis. The form for applying for a waiver is available on the DOR website at www.revenue.wi.gov/DORForms/pa-050.pdf.
New Housing Fee Report
Section 66.10014 of the Wisconsin Statutes sets forth the requirements for new housing fee reports. The Statutes require municipalities with populations of 10,000 people or more to report whether they impose fees or other requirements related to residential construction, remodeling, or development, and if so, the amount of each fee:
- Building permit fee
- Impact fee
- Park fee
- Land dedication or fee in lieu of land dedication requirement
- Plat approval fee
- Stormwater management fee
- Water or sewer hook-up fee
The report also needs to include the total amount of fees that the municipality imposed during the prior year and the amount of fees imposed per new residential dwelling unit approved during the prior year. Per Section 66.10014 of the Statutes, the report must be posted on the municipality’s website on a dedicated webpage titled “New Housing Fee Report.” In addition, each member of the governing body must be provided with copy of the report. If a fee or amount of fee is not properly reported per the Statute, the municipality may not charge the fee.
SEWRPC does not anticipate providing assistance with preparing new housing fee reports because the required information is generated by the municipality, and there is no analysis involved.