COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

                                                                     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

CPA 03-03, Affordable Housing Policy

 

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Work Session on a proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment to include in the Plan the Affordable Housing Policy developed by the County’s Affordable Housing Committee

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. White, Cilimberg, Benish,

 

AGENDA DATE:                     ITEM NUMBER:

January 7, 2004

 

 ACTION:                                INFORMATION:   X

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:         

     ACTION:                             INFORMATION:

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

BACKGROUND:

The “Preface” of the proposed Housing Policy provides a good background, and is included below:

 

With the adoption of the Neighborhood Model by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the charge given to address the inclusion of affordable housing in future developments, the Albemarle County Housing Committee created a Housing Policy Subcommittee to draft an affordable housing policy.  The subcommittee, staffed by the County’s Chief of Housing, drafted an outline of options to be considered in developing the policy.  In December 2002, the Housing Committee and Office of Housing convened three focus groups consisting of housing providers (nonprofits, lenders, realtors), developers, and neighborhood representatives to discuss the needs, issues, and recommendations regarding affordable housing and public policy.  The result of this work and input is the following proposal offered as an affordable housing policy for Albemarle County.

 

Some previous work had been done leading up to the development of the policy.  The Housing Committee and Board of Supervisors first defined affordable housing in July and September of 1998, respectively.  The definition proposed in this policy maintains the intent of the previously-adopted general definition.  The Board, at the request of the Housing Committee, adopted a Resolution of Intent to Amend the Comprehensive Plan in November 2002.  Finally, although not required for the adoption of this policy, the Board approved a request by staff to seek legislation allowing Albemarle County flexibility in creating and Affordable Dwelling Unit Ordinance.  This enabling legislation was approved in the 2002 session of the General Assembly.

 

This amendment is considered an important implementation step of the Neighborhood Model.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

GOAL: 3.3 - Promote a variety of safe, sanitary and affordable housing types.

 

OBJECTIVE 3.3.2 – By December 2003, the County will develop policies and ongoing programs that increase affordable home ownership options for households with incomes below 80% of median income.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Attachment A is the recommended Housing Policy, which is proposed to be included in the Comprehensive Plan as a separate, stand alone new section like the Economic Development Policy).  Attachment B is additional text amendments to the Land Use Plan section of the Comprehensive Plan.  Both Attachments A and B constitute the proposed amendment.

 

One of the key elements of the proposed policy is the strategy that establishes the desired minimum amount of affordable housing units that should be provided within development proposals.  This strategy suggests that a minimum 15 percent of all units developed should be affordable housing units as defined by the County Housing Office and Housing Committee.  This strategy will provide guidance to staff in the review of development projects, particularly rezonings and special use permits.  The Housing Committee is not recommending that a certain development size be established below which this strategy should not be applied. The Committee is recommending that all developments, regardless of size, be subject to review under this strategy.

 

The review of the Housing Committee’s proposed policy has gone through the following steps:

 

·          Planning Commission held first work session to discuss on August 19, 2003, and directed staff to set public hearing and schedule one final Focused Group Discussion with interested parties to answer questions and receive comments prior to the public hearing (a Focused Group Discussion process was used by the Housing Committee to help in the formulation of the Policy);

 

·          Focused Group Discussion was held September 19, 2003.  One change was made to the draft CPA based on Focused Group comments to more clearly indicate some flexibility in applying specific housing targets in the review of development proposals.  A summary of the comments from this meeting is provided in Attachment C.

 

·          PC public hearing was held on October 28, 2003.  PC also received from staff a reporting of the comments from the Focus Group Discussion.  PC recommended approval of the Housing Policy and the proposed text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.  The PC directed staff to review the Focused Group Discussion comments with the Housing Committee prior to Board’s review of the CPA.  (Planning Commission minutes are include in Attachment D.)

 

·         The Housing Committee met on November 20th to review the status of the Housing Policy CPA including the Planning Commission's review and the comments received from the Focused Group Discussion.  The Committee discussed the Focus Group comments and the Commission’s comments and action. The Housing Committee suggested no changes to the proposed policy at this time.  The Committee viewed many of the comments as items that will need to be discussed and formulated as a part of implementation and would be more detail than desired in a policy statement. 

 

The Housing Committee also understands that the policy could come back to the Committee after the Board’s work session for further discussion/revision.   Representatives from the Housing Committee will be available at the Board’s work session.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

No action is required at this work session.  Ultimately a public hearing will need to be set before adoption of the Housing Policy CPA.

 

 

Attachments:

 

A—Affordable Housing Policy and Amendments to Land Use Plan Text

B—Additional Text Amendments to the Land Use Plan

C—Summary of Focus Group Discussion Comments

D—Planning Commission minutes of October 28, 2003

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