Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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What’s Affordable?

Affordable housing or workforce housing is a topic often raised at Planning Commission meetings. But, for Spotsylvania County, what exactly does it mean? The update to the comprehensive land-use plan, under Housing Goals and Policies, highlights some interesting figures.

According to the plan, housing prices increased 126 percent in five years while the mean-family incomes rose just 4 percent. That was an eye opener. Now, I am not sure if it is an error or the document is meant to say “mean” instead of median, which is what is used most often in the document. They have two entirely different meanings. But for the purpose of sticking with what the document says, I will keep it. The MEDIAN-family income for 2006 was $75,507. The CP (comprehensive plan) says the county should define affordable as 100 percent of the AMI, adjusted for family size.

Using 2006 Census data, a house would cost less than $201,125 for it to be affordable. It would rent for less than $1,557. An affordable condo would cost $97,847 or rent for less than $756. To compare with a recent development proposal that hasn’t been filed yet, Summit Crossing, I was told “affordable” condos would cost in the $150,000 range. That doesn’t include those little two-wheel scooters Tricord displayed during the community meeting this summer. Those are extra.  

Developers seeking increased density for their projects “should” set aside at least 10 percent of the units for households earning 100 percent or less of the area median income, adjusted for family size.  The CP also states that deed restrictions should be in place for all designated affordable units to ensure the resale price falls within that affordable range.