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Opinion/Letter: Other approaches could address housing needs

Opinion/Letter: Other approaches could address housing needs

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The Sept 7 Daily Progress carried a front-page story about the controversy over Charlottesville’s Future Land Use Map between those who want more affordable city housing and those wishing to maintain the characters of their neighborhoods (“Land use map still drawing criticism”).

Whatever abuses in “historically exclusionary” zoning happened in the past, current homeowners didn’t commit them. We picked single-family neighborhoods as the best fit for our housing goals. Yet the city is trying to unilaterally cancel our choice.

By the way, a survey shows that as of 2013, 80% of Americans preferred single-family housing.

I have yet to see any logical action plan as to how building apartments in single-family neighborhoods will add affordable housing, because where is the funding stream to support subsidies for these renters?

And why won’t Charlottesville work cooperatively with Albemarle County and the University of Virginia? Given our landlocked status and the urban ring around us in the county, why not push first for more and better coordination?

If UVa wants to be a good neighbor, it should build more student apartments and housing for UVa low-wage employees. Walk the walk; don’t just talk the talk. Students using UVa housing could free up some rentals for non-students.

A gentler plan would be to change most of single-family zoning to soft density, allowing up to three accessory dwelling units per lot. Council can determine if some or all must be affordable for persons earning less than 30% of the area median income. This plan would increase city housing but leave homeowners rather than developers in charge of the process.

I support this incremental approach to change while other partners have time to enhance their own supply of housing

Barbara Haskins


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