County supervisors on the Transportation and Land Use Committee have seen a list of 25 collected ideas to promote a more diverse and affordable housing market in Loudoun, and have started the wheels turning on 22 of them.
The list was compiled from recommendations from committee members, the county staff, and the Affordable Dwelling Unit Advisory board, and range from revising county code for clarity to requiring more developments include county Affordable Dwelling Units, to trying to encourage new types of housing.
While none of them would put large numbers of young or middle-to-low income people in the spacious single-family homes enjoyed by previous generations, some of them do represent a major shift in the substance the direction of the county’s housing policy. Work to allow manufactured housing in Loudoun is meant to open the county to a market of lower-cost construction, while an idea to locate affordable housing projects on county-owned properties like fire stations is something that has been tried elsewhere, but never in Loudoun.
Others would open the county to new types of housing, like shared living arrangements that would see several people living in small individual rooms with a communal kitchen; or such as small homes on farms for agricultural workers. Yet others are more open-ended, like a broad-based effort to encourage more disability housing.
Several ideas are targeted at expanding the county-run, income- and rent-restricted Affordable Dwelling Unit Program, such as clarifying the exemptions; increasing the cost of buying out of the program, which is currently estimated at about a third the cost of building a unit; or requiring smaller residential developments to contribute to the program.
Various projects will require amendments to county ordinances or zoning or other research and work, but supervisors on the committee said they were glad to that work begin.
“The fact that we’re actually talking about age-in-place and disability housing, it’s very, very exciting, and long overdue,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).