Thursday March 21, 2013
Nearly one-third of homeowners and one-half of renters in South Burlington are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates – an amount that is considered unaffordable by finance experts. The widening gap between the supply of and demand for affordable housing in South Burlington has been a recognized problem in the city for many years now, officials said.
In response, the city formed an Affordable Housing Committee and commissioned a study to explore what can be done to address this issue. The committee has just released a draft Affordable Housing Report, which includes specific recommendations for actions South Burlington could take to increase the availability of affordable housing in the city.
The Affordable Housing Committee will be hosting a community meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at City Hall, 575 Dorset St., to present and discuss the draft report.
The report recommends that by 2025 an additional 630 housing units be built in the city that would be affordable for households earning up to $60,000 per year, and another 400 housing units that would be affordable for households earning between $60,000 and $90,000 per year. The committee recognizes that this goal will not be easily achieved, members said, and that meeting these targets will require a multi-pronged approach to preserving existing and creating new affordable homes in the city.
Some of the options outlined in the report include revisions to the city’s Land Development Regulations to encourage construction of a greater variety of housing types – such as cottages, duplexes, accessory apartments, small multi-unit buildings, row houses or live-work units – and smaller, more energy-efficient homes that will be more affordable both to purchase and to live in.
The report recommends that city-imposed costs such as permit and development review fees, impact fees and parking requirements be carefully examined and reduced or eliminated where feasible for affordable housing projects. The city could also require that some affordable housing be replaced or created through a housing replacement ordinance and/or inclusionary zoning provisions.
To learn more go to www.sbpathtosustainability.com and read the draft report and then attend the community meeting on March 27.
There will also be a survey asking city residents about their opinions on the affordable housing options being considered that will be available on-line or at City Hall and the library. Survey responses will be accepted through April 5.
SOURCE: City of South Burlington