The Town recently put Affordable Housing up as a topic on its Open Town Hall site which it uses to collect information on various subjects. Somewhat surprisingly for a topic that sucks up so much oxygen, it received only a paltry 61 responses. While those responses from an unscientific sample did skew towards favoring the idea of promoting affordable housing, the small nimber of responses should tell Town Hall how truly important (or not) the subject is to the population at large.
Much better answers on this subject will come out when the town gets the results of the National Citizen Survey which included many of these same questions. It was mailed to 1500 households. The town seems to be seriously gauging whether or not to raise taxes to subsidize the program, and that question was included in the NCS.
The town is constantly tinkering with its AH ordinance, and this would be just one more change - albeit one taxpayers might see as an unwelcome change.
To date each neighborhood plan in the AH program is different. The implementations over time have become a patchwork following different rules, making it very difficult to compare them on an apples to apples basis.
However, two of the most recent do allow this comparrison and voters should be warry of the town asking for more $$$ if it's going to not do what it is proven to work well for both the AH program and the neighborhoods where it's implemented.
Check out these pictures of all the "Sold" signs in from the Bradford neighborhood.
These affordable row house style homes are mixed in with market rate homes - some of the row houses are affordable, some market rate. They ALL have garages. Also, True Homes is the builder and according to Polaris they paid $35,000 per lot.
This is Affordable Housing done right with it mixed in well with surrounding houses while also being high quality homes. The houses sold very quickly with many, as you can tell from the pictures, selling prior to completion.
Compare this to the Town managed project across the way.
On February 14th the Board unanimously moved forward on the upset bid process on a proposal from JCB Urban to build an AH project in the Bailey Springs neighborhood. According to the resolution, the developer is offering a whopping $1000 for land to build more than a dozen homes. These homes will be similar to the ones in Bradford except they wont even have garages and they won't intermingle with market rate homes.
$1000 for land to build a lot of homes with no garages vs. $35,000 per lot for a single home with garage. Does that sound like the town was looking oit for taxpayers?
Think about that for a bit if/when the Town comes asking for more tax dollars to subsidize this program.