Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate the need for affordable housing in Howard County but it does seem that Columbia already bears a disproportionate burden of the counties low cost housing stock. According to David Yungmann and New City Alliance, “Columbia currently contains more than half the affordable housing in Howard County.”
Apparently that isn’t enough for some housing advocates. They want a redeveloped Columbia Town Center to accommodate even more low cost housing than the developer has already generously proposed. According to this article by Larry Carson in The Sun, “Advocates of affordable housing want 10 percent of the new residential units to be set aside for those with incomes under $40,000, with another 10 percent for those with incomes between $40,000 and $60,000.”
General Growth Properties is proposing “no more than 15 percent of the units be reduced-price housing, or about 825 of the 5,500 units. Hamm said his company would create a fund of up to $30 million to pay for that by charging builders a $4,000 premium per housing unit and by charging commercial tenants 5 cents per square foot.”
The company would initially establish the fund with a $5 million donation. That seems pretty generous to me.