DAAR Calls for Housing That is Affordable

Photo from meeting.On October 16, 2017, Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors hosted a Housing Summit to discuss the issue of housing affordability in Loudoun County. Brenda Morton, DAAR’s Government Affairs Manager, spoke about the need for affordable and workforce housing. She also offered practical solutions that could help the county address this important issue.

“Affordable and workforce housing play critical roles in growing our local and metro area economy,” said Morton. “We recommend that the county adequately plan for growth AND residential development.”

With an average home price last month in Loudoun County of over $512,000, many individuals who do not make an above-average salary will be edged out of the market. Prospective businesses seeking to locate in the county are calling for – if not demanding – housing that is affordable for their workforce. Practical solutions to increase the availability of affordable and workforce housing include establishing additional incentives to encourage developers to produce more units that are affordable; such as establishing. an expedited permit process, and allowing developers to convert existing market rate units to more affordable ones, rather than constructing new units. DAAR believes that the county should adopt policies that permit and encourage newer housing concepts, like cooperative housing, cottage communities, and similar innovative housing types.

DAAR was not alone in calling for an increase in affordable and workforce housing. Representatives from numerous sectors spoke about the critical need for housing and its impact on the county’s economic growth. It appears that some steps toward addressing this need will be taken. At the Summit, Supervisors directed county staff to create more developer incentives to build affordable and workforce housing and remove some of the existing barriers toward its development. Staff could amend the zoning ordinances to reduce minimum lot sizes, allow construction of accessory dwellings, and incorporate flexible development standards. Supervisors also approved developing a revolving loan program to help finance construction of affordable and workforce housing.

DAAR stands ready to assist and support those efforts that develop growth plans and policies to increase the availability of housing choices and address the needs of our workforce. Click here to view DAAR’s full statement.

Questions? Contact Brenda Morton, Government Affairs and Communications Manager, at (571) 291-9804 or bmorton@dullesarea.com.