Batavia needs more affordable housing, rental inspections, report says

If Batavia wants to get a jump on what kind of housing the city will need by 2040, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has some suggestions.

Its final "Homes for a Changing Region" report lists eight recommendations for Batavia.

Among them:

• Batavia should rezone some land to make way for housing for senior citizens and housing for people with low-to-moderate incomes.

• It should offer economic incentives to developers to create affordable housing in areas that already have infrastructure and are close to public transit. Incentives could be offered for building dense housing, and for including less parking than normal.

• It should encourage development of affordable live-and-work units downtown to attract artists and young professionals to live in an arts-and-culture zone.

• It should inspect more rental housing, including houses. It suggests Batavia follow Addison's lead. Addison requires licenses of all rental housing, and annual inspections.

• The city should team up with a nonprofit organization and Kane County to offer social services to low-income people of all ages, near existing affordable housing.

The Batavia City Council heard these recommendations Monday. It is scheduled to accept the written report Oct. 6, according to Scott Buening, the city's community development director.

After that, the council's committee of the whole will discuss the recommendations one by one, and decide what, if anything, to do about them.

The final report reiterated a point made in the previous drafts: Batavia could use more housing for households with less than $35,000 annual income.

"They are not able to purchase a house, and they aren't even able to find an affordable place to rent in Batavia." said presenter Brett Hanlon of the Kane County community development department. Kane County was a partner in the study.

The report is one of four CMAP developed over the last two years for a subregion of Kane County that includes North Aurora, Geneva and St. Charles.

The Geneva City Council will hear its part of the report at a committee meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 109 James St.

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