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Charlottesville Affordable Housing Action Items

October/November 2021 Advocacy Agenda

For this month, HFHGC’s Advocacy in service to our vision of a Greater Charlottesville where everyone has access to a decent place to live includes support for an update to the City comprehensive plan future land use map and funding for affordable housing in the City’s FY ’23 Capital Improvement Program.

1.     City of Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan/Future Land Use Map/Affordable Housing Overlay Framework

Background: In October, the Charlottesville City Planning Commission formally recommended an update to the comprehensive plan that includes a Future Land Use map that provides for additional density and other zoning allowances city wide. That recommendation is now in front of City Council for passage.

Habitat’s Position: We appreciate the Charlottesville community’s current focus on updating the Future Land Use Map in the Comprehensive Plan. We have heard concerns about gentrification pressure from residents of historically low-income neighborhoods and concerns from residents of wealthier neighborhoods that earlier proposals for the Future Land Use Map would set the stage for “density for density’s sake” without appreciably addressing the affordable housing crisis in our community.

Consistent among every group we’ve talked with has been the conviction that, to realize a more equitable Charlottesville, the Future Land Use Map must become a tool that creates conditions for addition of affordable housing in every neighborhood, particularly in the neighborhoods which have – due to deed restrictions, redlining and zoning, etc.  – been exclusive. 

We support the Planning Commission recommendation with one exception:

The PC recommended a framework for historically low income and black neighborhoods (sensitive general residential districts) that allows for up to four residential units if the original structure is maintained and if the first extra unit is affordable. Meanwhile, in all other general residential districts, up to three units are allowed by right with a fourth allowed if the original structure is maintained. There is no affordability requirement for the first four units in general residential which makes up the majority of the land mass in the City.

Therefore, we ask City Council to extend the rules for sensitive area general residential areas to all general residential areas.

Action Needed: Please contact City Council at council@charlottesville.org to express support for the Planning Commission recommendation to update the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan with the following exception:

·       The framework for “sensitive” general residential areas should be adopted city wide in all general density residential areas.

2.     City Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Funding

Background: This March, the Charlottesville City Council passed an historic Affordable Housing Plan to proactively address the 4,000-unit shortage of affordable housing in the City.

Perhaps the most critical component of the plan is the subsidy section which calls for the City to commit to a $10M annual allocation to the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund (CAHF) for the next ten years. Without this subsidy, the other areas of focus will simply not produce enough affordable housing to meet the need.

Currently, City staff departments are preparing their CIP requests for next fiscal year. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and recommend a CIP to City Council on November 23rd.

Habitat’s Position: Habitat strongly supports the Affordable Housing Plan and in particular believes that the subsidy recommendations in the plan were based on well-researched data regarding the subsidy and leverage needed to tackle the issue proactively over time.

Therefore, we urge the Planning Commission and City Council to vote for a FY ’23 CIP that fully funds the CAHF at $10M. This would enable the City to continue to fund current obligations such as Public Housing and Friendship Court redevelopment, vouchers and tax relief while, for the first time in three years, also funding critical initiatives such as home rehab, weatherization and home ownership.

Action Needed: Please contact City Council at council@charlottesville.org and the City Planning Commission at planningcommission@chartlottesville.org and tell them that you support the subsidy recommendations of the Affordable Housing Plan. Ask them to fund the CAHF at $10M in this year’s Capital Improvement Program, consistent with the Affordable Housing Plan.

This page will be updated on a monthly basis with new action items for people looking to advocate for affordable housing solutions in the greater Charlottesville area.

Last update: 10/29/2021

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