to: Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager
from: J.B. Culpepper, Planning Director
Loryn Clark, Housing and Neighborhood Services Manager
date: October 27, 2008
The purpose of this report is to respond to a petition from Orange Community Housing and Land Trust regarding a proposed change to the Town’s Affordable Housing Policy.
On March 6, 2000, the Council passed a resolution to increase the availability of affordable housing for low and moderate income households in Town. The policy states the Council’s expectation that any rezoning requests with a residential component incorporate a 15% affordable housing feature into their plans with mechanisms to assure ongoing affordability. As a result of the Council’s policy, to date 332 units of affordable housing have been approved. In addition, the Council has approved a total of $1,132,000 in payments-in-lieu of providing affordable housing.
On April 21, 2008, the Council received a petition from the Orange Community Housing and Land Trust Board of Directors to: (1) request that a market study be commissioned to determine the Town’s affordable housing needs over the next ten years; and (2) request that the Council allow flexibility with developers of condominium projects with their affordable housing plans that are subject to approval until the study is completed.
On June 9, 2008, we provided a response to the Council that proposed the preparation of a follow-up report regarding the options and costs associated with the development of an affordable housing market study for the community over the next ten years.
On September 8, 2008, Robert Dowling, Executive Director of Orange Community Housing and Land Trust presented a petition to the Council requesting that the Council consider changing its affordable housing policy (see Attachment 1). The Land Trust requested that in addition to requiring that developers provide affordable housing units on site that the Council consider accepting some payments-in-lieu of affordable units. The Land Trust explained that additional funds will be needed to ensure the success of the Town’s affordable housing program.
As a result of the Council’s affordable housing policy, the Land Trust expects to be responsible for selling over one hundred condominiums in the next two years. The Land Trust has raised concerns because of: (1) its limited staff capacity; and (2) at this time, they are not able to determine the demand for one and two bedroom condominium units. In response to a separate request from the Land Trust, we are in the process of issuing a request for proposals for a consultant to develop a market study. The study will examine the affordability and demand for condominium units that would analyze both the common expense assessments for condominium units as well as the demand for affordable 1- and 2 bedroom condominium units over the next ten years.
While accepting payments-in-lieu of providing affordable housing could help achieve the Council’s goal of producing new affordable housing units Town-wide, and maintaining the existing affordable housing stock, it is a significant change to the Council’s current policy. Additional discussion on this topic could help better inform the Council’s decision. Therefore, we recommend that the Council refer this petition to the Council Committee on Affordable Housing for further discussion.
We recommend that the Council refer this petition to the Council Committee on Affordable Housing for further discussion and a recommendation [by adopting the attached resolution].