Soccer schedules, local elections and affordability – 08-15-2007

Affordable housing is a crisis, but is it reasonable for government to mandate prices? Isn’t that some level of “price-fixing”?

… noted that the city’s goal is to have 15 percent of units in a project be reserved at affordable rates, or a commensurate amount of money donated to a nonprofit.

C-ville’s “Best Of” mapped out; alas, there was no “Best Realtor” category.

Get ready for the surge of election coverage. Charlottesville Tomorrow provides unprecedented and unparalleled coverage. A lot of money is being raised and spent.

You can’t go back home again, especially apparently to Crozet

UVA’s soccer schedules have been released. Our region is very lucky to have such high quality soccer played at Klöckner Stadium. Add the Men’s Soccer schedule to your calendar by downloading this and the Women’s Soccer schedule by downloading this. (my first attempt at doing this, so do so at your own peril 🙂 )

Klockner Stadium - courtesy of http://virginiasports.cstv.com/facilities/va-facilities-klockner-stadium.html

Homebuyers with good credit find it harder to get a loan

Taking your house public (!) Hat tip: Lani

Update 8/17/2007: As usual, Charlottesville Tomorrow has extensive coverage on the affordability of the above-mentioned development. My question is this – how does one define affordability and determine whom shall benefit?

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4 Comments

  1. DaveNorris August 15, 2007 at 10:15

    Hi Jim,

    You ask a good question — “Is it reasonable for government to mandate prices?” Generally speaking, local govts. in VA do not have the authority to require that developers include a certain amount of affordable housing in their developments (which is a common practice in many other parts of the country). HOWEVER, when a developer is seeking a big favor from a local govt. (as in the project referenced in that article, where he is asking the City to quadruple his allowable density in order to build 80 high-end condos), the local govt. not only has the opportunity, but in my opinion the obligation, to ask for something in return — something that’s going to improve the community’s infrastructure and help mediate the impact of his development.

    At last night’s Planning Commission meeting, immediately prior to the agenda item in question, Tom Hickman voluntarily came forward with a development proposal in which 21% of the building lots were dedicated to affordable housing (at least initially targeted to members of the Charlottesville Police Dept., so they can afford to live in the community they serve). Albemarle County has set a goal of 15% of affordable units in many of its new developments. The Ridge/Main proposal in question came in at 2.5%. I think it was highly laudable for the Planning Commission to express its opinion that a $200,000 proffer for affordable housing in return for a very lucrative density waiver (turning it from a $10-15 million project to a $40-50 million project) was aiming too low. Yes, we want more density in our downtown corridor. Yes, this project is light-years ahead of where it was just a few months ago, when they were still talking about building a CVS on that corner with a faux second floor. But in the mind of the Planning Commission, it’s not quite where it needs to be just yet, and I applaud them for aiming higher.

    Thanks as always for providing such a great forum Jim.

    Best,
    Dave Norris

  2. Darren August 15, 2007 at 11:00

    Thanks for the ics file – imported successfully to Google calendar.

    Coincidentally, if you don’t mind a bit of self-promotion, I just launched a site for people interested in UVa soccer or playing pickup games around town:

    http://www.albemarlesoccer.com/

  3. TrvlnMn August 15, 2007 at 15:43

    Re Govt Mandating Prices/Affordable Housing.

    [For the purposes of this discussion I am assuming Affordable Housing means- purchase and not renting since the government is already in the affordable rentals business.]

    Who defines affordable?

    What’s a fair definition?

    Assuming that affordable means 2 incomes will be for the used to purchase-

    How much home can two people, each making 9.75/hour (that’s roughly the neighborhood of what Albemarle and UVA have decided is a “living wage.”) working 40 hour weeks, how much home can those two people afford? (I’m going to guess it ain’t 200k).

    And I’m not including cops, firefighters or teachers when I’m thinking “affordable housing”. Those are the glamor professions that get all the attention, to the exclusion of too many others, when everyone decides to throw the affordable housing pity party. They make 15k to 20k more than the above defined “living wage” and that’s just the starting salaries. Aim your affordable housing at the people making the so called “living wage” and the housing becomes instantly affordable for those three professions.

    How does one prevent the housing unit from becoming “not affordable” when the current owners eventually sell it?

    Instead of focusing entirely on affordable housing- how about also pushing to increase the living wage?

    Affordable housing isn’t, in my opinion, just one problem- it’s a combination of different problems. And at this point I really don’t see any easy answers- mandating a price, well that’s just bandaid when stitches are whats really needed.

  4. Jim Duncan August 15, 2007 at 18:19

    Darren –

    Thanks for stopping by. I started a Facebook group a while ago, but have (clearly) had no action on it at all. No worries about the self-promotion; that’s how we learn about new stuff!