City Council to get update on affordable housing plan; PC got briefing last week on $10M annual funding request

This afternoon, Charlottesville City Council will get an update on the creation of an affordable housing plan that is at the heart of the ongoing Comprehensive Plan review. Last week, the Planning Commission was presented with a revised plan from officials with Rhodeside & Harwell and subcontractor HR&A Advisors. (revised plan)

“We had the draft plan that was available for public input,” said Sarah Kirk with HR&A. “We conducted a lot of engagement around that.”

Kirk said many changes were made to the language of the plan to make sure the words line up with its intent of bridging the “sizable affordable housing gap” while also addressing “historical patterns of segregation [that] persist throughout the City.” 

“There were some places where the intent of the language that was being used or the intent of the recommendations weren’t really clear,” Kirk said. “So what we’ve really done is we’ve clarified language to make sure that we’re being explicit about what the recommendation is and how it will be implemented by the city.”

They’ve also added more information about tools to expand homeownership in the city. 

“In addition we’ve added some additional detail about how the plan conserves vulnerable populations as well as address energy costs as part of housing affordability,” Kirk said. 

The consultants also added more details on the recommendation for the city to invest $10 million a year in affordable housing. 

“Really it’s $7 million of direct subsidy, most of it would be going through either the [Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund] or other allocations,” Kirk said. “$2 million of that is for tax relief which the city has already allocated. The city does needs to be spending funds on administration of these various housing programs and so we wanted to capture that here.” 

Kirk said the document more clearly acknowledges existing projects already funded, including investments in redevelopment of city’s public housing sites and the redevelopment by Piedmont Housing Alliance of Friendship Court. There’s also a new section on how all of these ideas would be implemented. You can watch her presentation on the city’s Boxcast channel

Council gets the report at 4 p.m. and will discuss the matter further at their meeting on March 1. The Cville Plans Together Initiative will meet with the Planning Commission again on February 23 with a discussion of a draft future land use map. Hosea Mitchell is chair of the Planning Commission. 

“This is going to be a pretty critical meeting because this is where things fell apart before,” Mitchell said. “I’m hoping that you guys can get us over this huge speed bump.” 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the February 16, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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