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Civic Federation Votes 47-29 to Back Affordable Housing Plan

The third item on the Arlington County Civic Federation's agenda on Tuesday evening, June 2, 2015 (ACCF June 2015 newsletter) involved support for the affordable housing master plan.

Before talking abut what happened at the Civic Federation's meeting Tuesday evening, let's see how the county poohbahs got the affordable housing study ball rolling. The county's affordable housing effort began in 2012, according to an October 19, 2012 memo from the County Manager, who wrote:

"In my proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget, I recommended a three-year Affordable Housing Study to fulfill the County Board’s direction for a comprehensive analysis of the full range of County housing programs and for multi-year strategic options. When approving the FY 2013 budget on April 21, 2012, the County Board provided the following guidance to staff:

“The Manager proposed as part of her budget initiating a housing study to assess gaps in our programs, determine long-term goals, establish funding priorities, and identify funding strategies to ensure the continued vibrancy and sustainability of our community for people at all income levels and stages of life. Over the next few months, working with the community, the staff will develop the scope of work and outline a study process for County Board consideration.” (italics in the original)

According to the minutes of the October 23, 2013 Board meeting, the Board voted 5-0 to defer consideration of the Board's charge for the affordable housing study. The purpose of the affordable housing study, contained in a December7, 2012 memo from the County Manager to the Board was:

"The purpose of the Study is to create a shared community vision of Arlington’s affordable housing as a key component of our community sustainability. The result will be an updated set of housing principles, goals, targets, strategies, and priorities that can be adopted by the County Board as the Affordable Housing Element of Arlington's Comprehensive Plan.1 Although the focus of the Study will be on affordable housing (“affordable” to be defined as part of the Study), reference to the entire housing stock will be necessary to serve as a framework or context for the affordable housing component, and some goals and targets may relate to broader housing objectives."

The Affordable Housing Master Plan and the so-called Implementation Framework policy documents, as well as other documents and information about the affordable housing study can be found here.

So let's see how the Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey reports it:

"Delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation on June 2 voted to support the draft Affordable Housing Master Plan that is headed later this month to the County Board for consideration and potential approval.

"The final vote was 47-29, and came after minor amendments and passionate debate on both sides of the issue. It was the last action taken by the Civic Federation before the organization went on its tradition summer hiatus.

< . . . >

"The proposal headed to the County Board aims to have about 18 percent of the county’s housing units in the “affordable” range, using a variety of strategies to achieve the goal – from providing developers with incentives to working with nonprofit groups such as AHC Inc. and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)."

You can find the many documents related to this discussion at the Civic Federation's website or their meeting archives.

The Arlington County Board is being asked, as a regular hearing item, to advertise a public hearing (Planning Commission July 6 and July 18, 2015) on the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AFMP) at their June 13, 2015, meeting. It will be item #43 on the Board's agenda; the document has 143 pages, including the Manager's staff memo (12 pages), AFMP (40 pages), and Implementation Framework (91 pages) If you prefer, you can access the entire 143-page document directly by clicking here.

Now if you're wondering just how much all of this is going to cost, the County Manager says there will be "no immediate financial commitment." Hey, it's true; here's the entire "fiscal impact" from the Manager's staff memo to the Board of the 143-page document for Agenda Item 43:

"The Affordable Housing Master Plan and the Affordable Housing Implementation Framework will impose no immediate financial commitments by the County. The County’s ability to meet the goals of the Affordable Housing Master Plan will depend on the future allocation of resources to programs identified in the Implementation Framework." (emphasis added)

Given the fiscal implications for taxpayers of Arlington County, we urge all Growls readers to review the two policy documents above -- 1) Affordable Housing Master Plan and 2) Implementation Framework -- and make your views about them known to members of the Arlington County Board. You can reach them by clicking-on the link below, or call them:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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