It’s widely accepted that localities throughout Virginia face an affordable housing crisis, but is the new Democratic majority in Richmond missing the mark on addressing the issue?
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said that a swath of bills addressing the issue hurts rather than helps. Wilson, in a recent op-ed in the Alexandria Gazette Packet, instead recommended an increase in state funding for affordable housing instead of bills forcing localities to meet development and zoning benchmarks.
“Such an approach would enhance the partnership between the Commonwealth and local jurisdictions and ensure more committed affordable housing in the areas that can benefit from that investment,” Wilson opined in the Gazette Packet. “This well-meaning legislation demonstrates a recognition of the problem, but sadly lacks the nuance and precision only possible in the local land use process.”
Thanks to the @AlexGazette for letting me share my thoughts on well-meaning legislation proposed in Richmond seeking to impose land-use policy changes in local communities around the Commonwealth.
I’m hopeful Richmond will pursue a more deliberate and precise approach. pic.twitter.com/vudviwXefi
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) January 30, 2020
Wilson told ALXnow that he was specifically referencing affordable housing bills proposed by Del. Ibrahim Samirah (D-86), whose district includes parts of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.
Samirah introduced a number of housing-related bills this session that would wrest some control from localities, including one that seeks to legalize duplexes and townhouses on all residential property and another giving more authority to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
New ideas take time.
In the same week my upzoning bill failed in its first subcommittee hearing, CA’s upzoning bill came just 3 votes short of passing their state senate.
Every day the coalition grows larger, and soon it will be impossible to ignore. https://t.co/G5tiMJdk0U
— Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (@IbraheemSamirah) January 30, 2020
Samirah told CityLab that a number of solutions for rising housing prices, particularly in urban areas, should be on the table. Increasing the state’s affordable housing stock by 100,000 units “would be a really good starting point to control the problem of the lack of affordable housing out there in Virginia,” he said.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has set a goal for the region to produce 320,000 affordable housing units by the end of the decade. City officials say that Alexandria is well positioned to meet its goal of producing or developing 2,000 units by 2025 and an additional 1,950 units by 2030. Still, the city is looking all over its 15.75 square miles to find locations to increase its affordable housing stock, like co-locating affordable housing on the grounds of schools set for renovation.
What an absorbing week in Alexandria. Just as the ball gets rolling with reopening and loosened restrictions, the pandemic rears its ugly head. With coronavirus transmission levels climbing, Alexandria is…
A new state grant could help fund the city’s expensive, state-mandated RiverRenew project and offset some of the sewer rate increases for Alexandrians. According to a press release, Alexandria Renew…
As it was with the decision to reopen schools, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is a little behind its neighbors in deciding whether or not faculty and students will be…
Featured in the latest Just Listed in Alexandria is a 3 BD/2.5 BA home with a fully fenced backyard and stone patio. Explore more of this listing at the open house this Sunday from 1-3 p.m.