County Board Affordable Homeownership Direction
(Adopted: March 13, 2012)
The County Board directs the County Manager:
A. To prepare further recommendations as part of the FY 2013 County Budget process for reprogramming any remaining funds from the AHC Multifamily Revolving Loan fund not needed by AHC for the acquisition of the Shell Station site and Harvey Hall site as approved by the County Board on March 10, 2012, as additional funding for the County’s MIPAP program for FY 2013.
B. To develop a proposal for a working group including representation from appropriate non-profit organizations, the Housing Commission’s Homeownership Subcommittee and County Staff to provide recommendations to the County Board on alternatives to further enhance the effectiveness and production of the Moderate Income Home Ownership Program in concert with the County Board’s Goals and Targets for Homeownership
C. The County Board finds that:
1. It is the vision of Arlington County to ensure an economically and culturally diverse and inclusive community. Ongoing access to affordable housing at all income levels, in the form of both rental and home ownership, is fundamental to maintaining healthy neighborhoods and families, and stabilizing our local work force and overall economic prosperity.
2. The County Board has adopted goals and targets for affordable housing across Arlington through the General Land Use Plan element of the Comprehensive Plan, and pursues the preservation and creation of affordable housing through zoning ordinance provisions, planning documents, site plan approvals, County funded affordable housing programs, and other policies and programs.
3. Home ownership, including opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, is defined as an Arlington priority in Goal #9 of the Affordable Housing Goals and Targets. Home ownership is good for Arlington County because it contributes to preservation of the jobs to housing ratio critical to the County’s economic sustainability, it provides greater stability of neighborhoods, enables residents to have greater control over their housing, provides greater protections against displacement, encourages people to put down roots in their communities and increase their civic engagement, and allows for wealth creation through financing leverage and long-term property appreciation.
4. The County Board recognizes that increasing the number of Arlington residents of low- and moderate-incomes as home owners is achievable through proactive, sustained public-private efforts designed to create and maintain successful programs, coupled with regular public monitoring, measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of those programs.
5. Arlington County has a portfolio of financing tools and programs intended to increase affordable home ownership, including Live Where You Work, the Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP), technical assistance and housing counseling for first-time home buyers, and partnerships with Federal and State authorities that offer affordable mortgage financing products.
6. The County Board has also approved numerous planning tools to better achieve a variety of affordable housing such as zoning provisions for increased development rights, the Affordable Housing Ordinance, Accessory Dwelling Units, Transfer of Development Rights and the policy of Public Land for Public Good, among others, and through the Columbia Pike Land Use and Housing Study has identified a number of potential tools for further study that may be appropriate in this corridor or throughout Arlington. The County Board has also explored a number of strategies to achieve affordable home ownership through community land trusts, cooperatives, mortgage loan programs and other shared-equity models.
Therefore, the County Board directs the County Manager to undertake the following activities:
7. The County Board recognizes that affordable home ownership will not be possible in every instance of development and redevelopment in the County. However, all development and redevelopment projects with an affordable housing component, including site plan projects where applicants are willing to consider affordable housing plans beyond those required under the County’s affordable housing ordinance, those on County controlled property, and those that seek AHIF funding, should be analyzed for potential opportunities for the County to participate, in partnership with development and redevelopment partners, in furthering Arlington’s homeownership goals. The County Manager must develop standards, to conduct such evaluations, in consultation with the Housing Commission, and provide the results of these evaluations to the Housing Commission and the County Board.
8. In the initial phase of the Housing study proposed in the County Manager’s budget, the County Board directs the Manager to catalog and evaluate the effectiveness of current homeownership programs available to low to moderate income households of various sizes. In particular, the Board wants to understand
- progress that has been achieved under current programs,
- program adjustments the Board could consider to
- take advantage of market opportunities and/or
- address challenges and barriers in meeting affordable home ownership goals – whether in condos, coops, or single family homes, AND
- fiscal implications and comparisons of home ownership opportunities to rental opportunities.
Study results and recommendations should be brought to the Board in December 2012. The Housing Commission shall focus particular attention on homeownership, review the results of the staff study, and provide recommendations to the County Board, as appropriate. In addition, they shall actively engage in the multi-year housing study proposed in the Manager’s FY13 budget, if funded by the County Board.
Thereafter, the Housing Goals and Targets annual report should detail current activities, achievements and cost-effectiveness by program as well as identify any new activities to increase affordable home ownership that are under study.
9. The County Board further directs the Manager to incorporate into the annual report on Housing Goals and Targets information on affordable home ownership “best practices” around the country as well as make annual recommendations for state and federal legislative and/or regulatory changes that would make it easier to provide affordable home ownership in the County.