The city is eyeing these zoning changes particularly with a goal of getting more affordable housing, thanks in part to legislation passed this year in the General Assembly. The new law means that the city can trade extra height and density with developers if they contribute either units or money towards affordable housing.
â€œIn 2000, the discussion on the table was not, â€˜How do we assure a significant increase in affordable housing?’ The discussion was, â€˜How do we attract a middle class back into the core of Charlottesville?’â€ Cox says. â€œI think we’ve seen how the real estate market has performed in Charlottesville. The issues in affordable housing have become of increasing importance to the city.â€
Woodard, however, wonders if in reducing the by-right density, the city is creating more dilemmas for affordable housing, promoting large luxury apartments at the expense of smaller 1,000-square-foot units. â€œI think, indirectly, decreasing density Downtown would in a sense promote suburban sprawl,â€ Woodard says. â€œInstead of building a Downtown area, more and more folks live out of town and have to commute more.â€