Recently the Board of Supervisors held a work session on the subject of affordable housing, which county staff has been working on for some time. It seems the proposed new ordinance looks toward imposing a new requirement that would require developers to set aside a 20 percent of the total units as affordable for all developments over 10 homes. This is a marked change from the current system of proffering 15 percent of the new homes as affordable albeit with a catch. Here’s how the current system works. The developer is actually proffering a market level/priced home as affordable. If the County can’t come up with a buyer for the affordable home in 90 days at the agreed affordable price, the home goes back on the market at the full market price. Unfortunately, this plan has never worked which explains why in Crozet some 300 homes that should have been purchased as affordable went back on the market at full price. This time the county seems to be serious about their new proposal. To be honest I’m not sure I understand the full dimensions of the proposal, but what’s clearly stated is 20 percent means 20 percent. Housing policy manager Stacey Perthia also introduced another part of the proposal by stating “We would really like to get feedback on the proposed cash-in-lieu payments [and] if those amounts are set at an appropriate level.” Pethia went on to say “I want Board feedback on a proposed right of nonprofits to purchase affordable dwelling units.” For homes where the developer chooses a cash-in-lieu payment it would currently generate $109,00. But the County wasn’t done there, making sure the affordable units would be consistent with all of the market level homes being built. “That would include making sure that the affordable units are the same square footage as the market rate units, have a mix of bedrooms per unit similar to the mix of bedrooms in the market rate units, and that the Affordable Dwelling Unit’s would include a minimum set of appliances,”. Pethia calculated the maximum sales price under the draft ordinance at $219,050 based on 65 percent of one federal metric. The current maximum under existing policy is at $243,750. These sale prices would be controlled for 40 years. Immediately the Free Enterprise Forum complained about the amount of extra staff that would be needed to complete all the tasks required to maintain the program. Perthia responded, “it would only require one additional staff person to administer the program. In the end, the board could not muster much support for the proposed program before them after facing a development community whose initial response, as I see it is, when it comes to affordable housing their response is “Not in my development”.