Editorial: Albemarle should push Southwood from plan to reality | Editorials

ByLavinia E. Smith

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Reasons to slow walk massive strategies will constantly exist. But there will come a issue in which determination to a eyesight ought to eventually overtake possible challenges. Final week’s Albemarle County Preparing Fee hearing on the large Southwood blended-use job supplied an case in point. The organizing fee listened to citizens and discussed a 2nd rezoning for Southwood for 4 hours. Then, it voted 4-2 to propose that the county Board of Supervisors move the project forward.

The county personnel did not suggest or oppose the rezoning. Many speakers apprehensive about the potential of educational institutions and the likelihood that a new university may be required to accommodate programs by Habitat for Humanity of Larger Charlottesville to develop among 527 and 1,000 households.

The job normally takes its identify from the proposed redevelopment of the Southwood Cellular Residence Park on Hickory Road, in close proximity to Outdated Lynchburg Street and just south of I-64. Southwood is one of the number of destinations in the county where by inadequate men and women can find the money for to reside.

In Albemarle and Charlottesville, low earnings and middle course households will by no means be capable to participate in the American aspiration of household possession until general public officials push jobs like Southwood from the drawing board to construction. That may possibly demand coordination involving supervisors and faculty board members, as properly as other sorts of cooperation. However, the buildout on both of those phases of the Southwood task will not be finish right until 2035-2040, in accordance to Habitat officers. The faculties piece can be worked out by then.

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It is time to get transferring. Diversifying economically special communities does not transpire right until communicate presents way to motion.

Habitat will have lots of market place charge houses in the Southwood job. That continues to be the situation even as it also pledges to folks who now dwell in Southwood that they can keep in Albemarle. Some Southwood inhabitants spoke at the public hearing. They expressed many thanks for the probability to stay in a county with such superior schools and these kinds of very good community products and services. A great deal of other minimal and middle money individuals would like that prospect, far too.

In addition to having treatment of Southwood’s recent inhabitants, Habitat plans very affordable housing and flats in the Southwood redevelopment for extra minimal and middle cash flow citizens. This does not seem to be to have curtailed desire in market place-fee households since Albemarle continues to be this sort of a preferred spot to reside.

Economic integration is critical to good results in projects like Southwood. Clustering the bad in no way worked. Specified the opportunity, shared interest and pleasure in property possession can perform. So can finding out from people today who grew up in unique situation. Still, Habitat’s CEO Dan Rosensweig advised The Day by day Progress that Southwood’s developers are “not just creating a ethical case.” He states information gathered from very similar Habitat jobs show that property values for market place amount residences increase in mixed-cash flow residential communities.

The county approved the to start with phase of Southwood in 2019. It bundled up to 450 housing units. Internet site designs present building of 335 housing models. Of those people, 121 units would be lower-revenue residences. Habitat programs to build 86 residences for trailer park citizens.

Period two, which the Arranging Commission encouraged for acceptance previous 7 days, allows a minimum amount of 527 and a maximum of 1,000 residential models. Of these, Habitat proposes 227 inexpensive residential models for Southwood households. If some of people people leave, the housing would turn into obtainable for people producing up to 80% of the area’s median residence income of roughly $80,000. Area also would be reserved until 2023 for at least 60 low-cash flow housing tax credit apartments.

Apart from honoring a determination to inexpensive housing, yet another significant explanation exists for existing Albemarle citizens to change idea into exercise. The county taxes trailers in the Southwood Mobile Dwelling Park as personalized home at values that are a little portion of what new houses command as long term household constructions. The land the trailers sit on provide taxes, but individuals, also, are miniscule when compared to designed true estate. Now, look at the profits stream from the Southwood house with hundreds of new housing models valued conservatively at an typical of $300,000 each.

As Rosensweig pointed out: “The tax windfall for the county is astronomical.”