Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Piling On

It’s almost as bad as congressional earmarks. Monday night, at the public hearing on CB 29, the usual suspects lined up to demand that any village center redevelopment include affordable housing if redevelopment plans include a residential component.

Under the banner of “full spectrum of housing” the housing activists want any new residential component to set aside 30% of the units for affordable housing. The 30% allocation would be broken down by 10% for families making between $60K and $80K annually, 10% for families making between $40K and $60K annually and 10% for families making less than $40K annually.

To be fair, these advocates recognize that some villages like Wilde Lake already have a disproportionate share of affordable housing. According to Tim Sosinski, the idea is to apply this 30% formula to those villages that have not done “their share” for affordable housing like River Hill. A developer like Kimco in Wilde Lake would be able to bypass the 30% allocation by making a contribution to a newly established “housing trust” instead.

While this is certainly a laudable effort to provide housing for those “police officers, firemen, teachers and waiters” who are currently priced out of this market, putting up additional hurdles for developers to jump through won’t help save the village centers.

I thought the whole idea of CB 29 was to actually make it easier to redevelop the ailing village centers.


Tim Sosinski said...

The most likely way for Howard County to fill the existing gap in housing available for families with incomes ranging from below $40,000 up to $120,000 is to require developers who are getting extra density to build units that address this hole in the spectrum. Although the proposed full spectrum amendment will not have much immediate effect on the problem in Villages where the full spectrum already exists, it is important to start sending a clear message that these lower end, market rate units need to be part of future growth. Including the precedent in CB 29 is a good start.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for those poor families making only $80K a year. My tax dollars should definetly subsidize them.

Anonymous said...

How about building somthing other than another 55+ community.

Tom said...

Isn't this a County wide issue that should be addressed in a County wide bill?

I am in agreement with Tim for the need, but I do not agree that this is the Bill to address the issue. It is a piecemeal way of getting to an ends.

Anonymous said...

Families making 80K are "poor" by Howard County Standards.

Anonymous said...

I family of 4 making 100K a year would have problems affording housing in the county.

I've tried when we moved to this area originally.... hence.. I now commute.