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Cheryl Malloy (user 326) - Comments by Date

Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on the City’s Draft Housing Master Plan. As a resident of Alexandria who has witnessed, first hand as a volunteer with ALIVE!, the struggle of many families and individuals in Alexandria to afford to pay rent in addition to food, child care and other necessities, I appreciate the significant effort that has gone into the drafting of the plan. It provides a comprehensive look at the tremendous need for affordable housing in Alexandria and offers a number of strategies to address this need.

Upon review of the draft, I would like to offer the following recommendations:

• While the Master Plan does an excellent job of identifying needs, tools and obstacles, it does not provide concrete and numerical goals and a timeline for achieving them. It should present specific goals and the resources needed to achieve them.
• While a range of strategies to achieve the goals are described, there is no process or timetable for implementing the strategies. Special emphasis should, I believe, be placed on:
o Increases in the voluntary contributions from developers to the Housing Trust Fund
o Increases in the density bonus for, and streamlined approval for, projects incorporating affordable units
o Fee waivers, pre development financing and loan guarantees
o Development of city-owned property
o Use of air rights and transferable development rights
o Permitting accessory dwellings.
• Use of City-owned property is mentioned frequently, but the Master Plan does not offer a discussion or an inventory of City and surplus land. This would be particularly helpful for developers who could determine the feasibility of developing these sites.
• Perhaps most importantly, the City needs to provide funding if Alexandria is to retain existing, and develop new, affordable housing. The City used to set aside 1 penny of the real estate property tax rate and the entire amount of recordation tax revenue to fund affordable housing. Both of these funding streams, along with an increase in the voluntary contributions from developers, should be designated to the Housing Trust Fund.

Many of us moved to Alexandria because it was known as a progressive and caring City. I hope that the City will continue to care for all of the individuals and families that live and work here. The City’s commitment to funding and implementing changes that will facilitate affordable housing would demonstrate the compassion so important to a vibrant community.

Cheryl Malloy (326) | User | February 9, 2013 - 1:03 PM | Alexandria Housing Master Plan