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County Officials Mull How to Boost Housing Affordability

by Fatimah Waseem September 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm 67 Comments

County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on how to increase housing affordability in Reston and surrounding areas.

At a meeting on September 20 (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the second phase of the county’s Housing Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.

The meeting will take place in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School from 7-9 p.m.

The second phase of the plan aims to offer ways resources can”act as a catalyst for new affordable housing production and quality affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation,” according to the county.

The overall plan, recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors, was drafted by county staff and a group of stakeholders, including nonprofit leaders and the business community, to pitch strategies to address future housing needs. The policy is designed to reinforce the county’s economic development strategies and approaches to ensure racial and social equity across all county services.

The plan seeks to end homeless in a decade, provide affordable housing to special needs population, meet affordable housing needs for low-income, working families and increase workforce housing through creative partnerships and policy arrangements.

Phase one of the plan includes 25 short-term strategies that can help create more housing options without major policy changes or significant revenue sources. Phase two of the plan will offer longer-term strategies to develop new tools, policies, and resources to boost affordable housing options.

File photo

  • MILLENNIAL MAGA

    My two part plan is as follows:

    1. Send all boomers directly to GITMO

    2. Eat the remaining rich

    • Why do you bother?

      Not all boomers are rich.

      • MILLENNIAL MAGA

        I don’t discriminate, both poor and rich boomers should be sent to GITMO

    • Seriously, why not?

      I prefer to send Cathy Hudgins to GITMO, along with her feeder developers.

    • Terms of Service

      This seems to be the battle cry dividing our country, here in order

      1. Racism
      2. Sexism
      3. Age discrimination

      There are no winners except the self serving politicians.

      Which brings me to my last observation: although.there is endless campaigning in our area only one party is in control.

  • Amy Sue

    How about increasing taxes on the people who can afford homes to pay for the people who can’t afford homes. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

    • Mike M

      Amy Sue, we are already doing that. Do you think there is a risk that the people who can afford have limitless money? Do you think they would continue to make that money if they lose so much of it in taxes. Do you think they might not want to live elsewhere? I live in a home I can afford on one income. Why is that? Because I bought modestly and worked my tail off. Even now we have people living in nearly comparable housing at my expense and the expense of my neighbors. How far do we take it?

      Tax the rich
      feed the poor
      till there are
      no rich no more

      What happens Amy Sue when you run out of other people’s money? We’re all homeless.

    • 30yearsinreston

      That didnt work out for China and the USSR

    • Scott

      OK. who gets to be the arbiter of deciding who gets taxed and who is a recipient? Hudgins? Connolly? That “narcissistic maniac” Northam?

  • Mike M

    The answer to this is well known. Boost supply relative to demand and prices come down – or stop rising so fast. Even boosting luxury homes construction will accomplish this through a process called “filtering.” People move up and the less expensive units become available. Any government involvement simply makes the problem worse. Somebody will pay the cost of “workforce housing” proffers and there will NEVER be enough of these mandated units to put a dent in the problem. But keeping it real, my mortgage payment has grown substantially only because of taxes. Does this mean I want the County to build out Reston? NO! Especially not if they aren’t going to build out the infrastructure. Get the government OUT of social welfare!

    • JoeInReston

      “Boost supply relative to demand and prices come down – or stop rising so fast”

      Are you advocating for more supply?

      Every time Reston Now posts “Ffx County has approved a near development” post, the board commenters will complain that Hudgins is selling out.

      What option do you like?
      – Increase supply drastically, upsetting residents because significant population growth changes the community. Making it something different than what is was (suburban to urban)
      – Do nothing, tanking affordability
      – Implement affordable housing policies and all the pros & cons that come with it.

      • Doug C

        Do nothing, and let market forces come into play. If companies cannot get enough workers who cannot afford to live here, they will be forced to increase wages, which will alleviate the problem. Why is this difficult to understand?

      • Mike M

        Don’t be a hamsterhead. There are more alternatives. I don’t understand why all the density has to be here. But I wouldn’t even mind if:
        1) The County got the devil out of the housing business. They cannot change anything for the better.

        2) They allowed development only at the pace whereby they could keep up with commensurate infrastructure development. To me, THAT is smart growth.
        Hudgins is a total sellout and I was clear in my original post!

      • Amy Sue

        It’s a vicious circle. More development begets more low paying retail jobs begets a greater need for affordable housing. People working retail supposedly can’t afford to live further out because transportation costs will eat up their low wages. So middle class taxpayers and homeowners end up footing the housing bill for the low income workers.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        Talk about an ideologue. Government has to be involved. Considering your lame solution — increase supply which means more development, whether here or elsewhere — is going to require government involvement, if for no other reason than to provide permits. And with more housing comes more population which means more government services.

    • The Player To Be Named Later

      Golly, I can hardly wait until one of those luxury homes “filters” down to me so I can move in!
      Would next Tuesday be too soon for y’ all?
      Call me!

  • 30yearsinreston

    Is this for real?
    How do I get a free house ?
    Hudgins must be recalled

  • ShadowHoodSection8King

    The market has addressed housing concerns. If you can’t afford to live in Reston, then don’t live in Reston.

    • TommyR

      110% agree.

    • David Romero

      The market does not care about people. All the market does is attempt to make the most money for investors. Many don’t think the county interferes with the free market enough. They claim rightly that the county should act as a buffer against short-sighted developers who don’t care about Reston. A key example is the op-ed on Wheelock and Hidden Creek. The free market dictates that Wheelock should be able to develop it and make a lot of money. Others think the county should keep it zoned as a golf course because it benefits the community.

      Just as the county should prevent development that is harmful to the community it should use those powers to help the community. One way is to ”act as a catalyst for new affordable housing production and quality affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation.”

      Fairfax has a lot of programs that help people. For example, it owns senior and assisted living communities. This prevents the elderly from being priced out of the communities they lived in and stay near family.
      https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing/affordable-housing

  • Greg

    “Fairfax County will commit more than $500 million in subsidies for workforce housing in Tysons Corner, but has yet to figure out how to pay for transportation and other infrastructure…

    For several years…have argued that the county should not be subsidizing housing at a time when the county is struggling to maintain existing levels of public services and minimize tax hikes on residents. They have been especially critical of workforce housing set aside for families that earn as much as 120 percent of the area median income. The AMI, which is set by the federal government, is now [2018] $140,640 for a family of four.”

    Families earning $140,640 do not need subsidized housing!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/pat-herrity-renews-fairfax-county-board-debate-over-affordable-housing/2012/06/06/gJQATDd9HV_blog.html?utm_term=.efc1f780ac7c

  • Umust B Kidding

    I do not understand why the county INSISTS on using only “stakeholders”–code word for developers–and other special interests for developing its policy proposals. In fact, county residents are “stakeholders” too and, in fact, pay most of the taxes the county spends. By the time a proposal reaches the stage its currently at, the residents will have absolutely no meaningful input into to the final product. This is merely an act put on by the county to make you believe you participated in the process.

    Screw the Board of Supervisors!

  • Reston Resident

    Cathy Hudgins will no doubt want to bulldoze the golf courses to put in subsidized housing.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Its coming

  • Reston Resident

    If I can’t afford to live in Great Falls, will the county subsidize me? What if I want to live in Bethesda? Or Georgetown?

    Enough of Cathy Hudgins and her “stakeholders.” Can someone explain to me why this woman is still in office?

    • Conservative Senior

      No one is willing to run against her.

    • TommyR

      110% Agree with your two points.

    • Scott

      ^^^^^ This ^^^^^
      Please explain why there is a need for “affordable” housing in reston. No one has a right to live in Reason. Go live in Herndon, Sterling, Springfield, arlington…wherever.
      I can’t afford to live in Georgetown or McLean so I have to slum it out here in the shadow of Shadowood. Why isn’t the govt subsidizing me to live where I want?

  • BJ Wilson

    This is what happens when you have a one party system in Reston. You get a Cathy Hudgins with no plausible way of removing her.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Recall is an option

  • Reston Mom

    They plan to end homelessness in a decade? Well aren’t they smart! Homelessness has existed as long as long as there has been civilization. Their actual plan is to spend our money on themselves and the people they can convince to vote for them.

    • Ann T

      Yes, I remember when the Great Society ended homelessness in 1965. Same deal. Lots of jobs for mid-level bureaucrats, and urban “projects.”

      They are indeed geniuses.

    • Mike M

      It is self-righteous arrogance. It is the “let them eat cake” syndrome.

  • RickR

    Are we getting to a point where anyone who buys a house in Reston must buy an identical house in Reston for a poor person?

    • 30yearsinreston

      Bingo!

    • Scott

      You are just greedy sir 😉

    • David Romero

      Take a look at the plan posted in the article. I understand being critical but you are being silly.

      The county’s plan does aim help those it considers vulnerable, “persons with disabilities, seniors, and extremely low-income individuals and families, including those transitioning from homelessness”.

      It also aims to make sure those that work and live in the county can continue to do so. The county cites rising housing costs exceeding increases in income.
      “Between 2010 and 2015, the average rent in Fairfax County has increased 17 percent and typical home prices for single family homes, town homes and condominiums were up 15, 23 and 27 percent respectively. Over the same period, the average household income in the County increased by only 10 percent…”

      *Quotes are from the county’s plan.

      • Greg

        The irony is that property taxes on residential properties increased at an even higher rate over the last five years. More than 26 percent. That’s atop the increases in market prices.

        The county does too much for too many who don’t need it. Why, for example, do we have a special tax district for a community center? Why do we have several park authorities and parks and recreation departments? Why are there special COLA-indexed pensions for county employees? Why does the county insist on providing housing assistance for families making nearly $150,000 a year?

        Will those of us who pay these taxes soon be forced to move because we can’t afford the taxes the county takes for those who can’t afford to live here?

  • Bert W

    I have been a Democrat all my life, but I’m beginning to see why Trump was elected. Just too many “you have got to be kidding!” moments in Reston and Fairfax County with Cathy H. to risk voting Democratic here.

    And please don’t tell me that I must be a racist. That’s getting old.

    • Mike M

      Thanks, Burt. It’s really not about Party. You know you have seen the arses of both. It’s about responsible adulthood. To H with the parties.

    • Scott

      #walkaway Bert.
      Everyone is doing it. The democrats have been taken over by Leftists. Liberals are no longer welcome.

  • Paradox revealed

    Reston has at least two slum areas. Instead of gentrifying these areas the county pushes to develop areas that are already prized high and have direct access to major traffic arteries. The result: escalating home prices.

    This does not make sense! What makes even less sense is that the county is now crying about it.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hudgins is the driver of the insanity

    • John B

      The slums are affordable. That’s what she wants.

      • Scott

        I notice she doesn’t spend much time there.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Anyone disagree that Hudgins must go ?

    • Restonian

      How do we recall her? What is the process?

      • Why do you bother?

        Run for her seat.

  • Patriot

    When I worked for a developer that was required to sell a certain # of “Affordable Dwelling Units,” at least 80% of the purchasers were Indians, Pakistanis, or Middle Eastern folks who knew how to cheat the system to get a house almost free of cost. They are experts at circumventing rules, creating shell LLCs (like the Muslim Brotherhood-funded Safa Group), and milking the system — all while diverting funds and living off the free government money like kings. There is so much corruption in this area from folks who do not share our values and see no ethical issue with taking advantage of Americans’ generosity and altruism. Wake up, folks, and stop being so PC and naive!!!

    • Racism Watchdog

      BARK BARK BARK BARK

      • Mike M

        Such an erudite comeback. You must feel smug.
        I hear the same thing from people who work in the school systems. Is it possible there is an ounce of truth to something you have been programmed to reject out of hand?

        • 30yearsinreston

          He/she is being sarcastic

          • Mike M

            I hope so. That would actually be refreshing in here.

    • Umust B Kidding

      This comment is insufferably racist–and inaccurate.

      • Mike M

        There can be no truth in it? Why?
        PS: I am not suffering.

      • Scott

        Calling someone a racist is not an argument. It is lazy and tired and unbecoming to decent society. If it is inaccurate, provide some facts to support your claim.
        It is not wrong to note that different cultures have different values and would respond to the existence of govt programs in different manners. I have been exposed to the cultures patriot notes. It’s not all, but on average, the cultures involves barter, negotiation, and getting an upper hand on a transaction. I have no problem believing that it would extend to accessing subsidized housing. Again… Not all, but plenty to support the assertion. Doesn’t mean they are bad peopleaving, just that they have a different culture, and if the US wishes to be a melting pot of cultures, we need to consider how those diverse cultures will impact policies and programs.

        • David Romero

          I think it is okay to call someone who singles out “Indians, Pakistanis, or Middle Eastern folks” as “corrupt cheaters who do not share our values” using tactics similar to the Muslim Brotherhood to take “advantage of” America as racist.

          The claims made are hard to believe to put it kindly.
          80% of ADU’s are not going to people with shell corporations.
          ADU’s are not free. See the county’s website: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing/homeownership/homesforsale

          I also find it odd to say calling out blatant racism is lazy and tired while arguing that because a culture “involves negotiation” it’s okay to accuse them of abusing housing programs. Also ADU’s aren’t subsidized. ADU’s are a proffer developers offer in exchange for increased zoning density from the county.

      • Restonian

        Why do you say it is inaccurate? Please site figures to support your claim.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    So, the BoS has a Final Solution for homelessness. I’m all ears.

  • Guest

    Just for the record, Fairfax County and Cornerstones are already planning to build several hundred affordable dwelling units at North Point as well as Lake Anne Village Center. The approval of this policy will give them the basis for doing that.

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