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Fairfax Candidate Survey: Affordable Housing

Candidates discuss affordable housing in Fairfax City.

Before getting to the housing questions, I want to remind everyone that all of the survey responses are also posted on the City of Fairfax Citizens for Smarter Growth web-site.

The housing section of the survey included two questions.  Similar to the , some candidates answered each question individually, and some provided a single response that addressed all of the issues.  Here is the statement they were given:

There is a need for more homes that are affordable to the people who work in the City of Fairfax and surrounding areas. Very few residential developments built in Fairfax City during the past five years have been affordable for people earning the average regional income.

Please address how you would work to ensure that new housing is more affordable, including the following questions:

●  Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown?

●  How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?

And here are their responses:

 

Council Candidates:

Steven Stombres

I would support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and condominiums in certain areas of the city such as Northfax, which holds the most promise for a mixed-use development project with retail, residential and office components. 

In addition, one issue that has been consistently raised by residents is the need for adequate senior housing in the City of Fairfax.  Ideally, senior housing would be centrally located, have access to CUE bus service, and be affordable for city residents looking to downsize.  I support efforts to redevelop older, poorly maintained properties in the city that are in need of revitalization and can help us address our housing needs.

 

Michael DeMarco

I believe we need a mix of housing choices available to attract young professionals and relocating families, including apartments, condominiums and single family homes. We also need dedicated senior housing for our aging population looking for alternative living.

We also need to support a city wide program to keep our older housing stock attractive to existing and new home-buyers. We should also encourage usage of available fund programs that enable the revitalization of older apartment and commercial properties. We should enforce residential and subdivision code guidelines and restrictions to keep our neighborhoods safe and attractive.   

 

Daniel Drummond

●      Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown?

We need to be open to “denser” housing along Fairfax Boulevard, which may include apartments and condominiums. I have been on record supporting a project that would have added apartments, but also attracted new retail to the area. In order to get the kind of shopping and dining experiences people want, there needs to be residential areas nearby and this is why I think mixed-use projects make sense in the nodes (Kamp Washington, Northfax, Fairfax Circle) along Fairfax Boulevard so long as we protect the integrity and character of our residential neighborhoods.

 

●      How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?

We are actually a leader in affordable housing as we have the most affordable housing of any Northern Virginia jurisdiction on a per capita basis. We need to ensure that we continue to identify solutions that provide housing choices for people and I will be supportive of these efforts as we look at redevelopment projects.

 

Jeffrey Greenfield

●      Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown?

Consideration of additional housing options, to include apartments should be given to the nodes along Fairfax Boulevard.  Quality, density, shuttles to the Metro and overall project design must be part of any future application.

 

●      How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?

Thirty percent of the City’s housing stock is considered affordable (at or below $350k).  Market conditions would never allow those neighborhoods to be re-developed.  The Comprehensive Plan is one tool the Council has to guide us in protecting those communities.

 

David Meyer

●      Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown?

Apartments are increasing in demand because of tight mortgage financing, and more professionals desiring the flexibility of apartment living. In new, redeveloped mixed-use projects, especially along Fairfax Boulevard, I would support including high-quality apartments as part of an overall project that would include close, walkable access to community amenities, including public transportation.

●      How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?

The City has sound, quality apartments that meet the housing needs of a variety of City residents.  I support retaining this portion of our housing stock to ensure a broad spectrum of housing options is available within the City.

 

Catherine Read

●      Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown? I support the development of higher density housing.  I especially want more “senior friendly” housing with a universal design, one floor, ADA compliant, with ramps and easy access, and close to public transportation.  I think it needs to be a mix of condos and apartments targeted to different demographic groups.

 

●      How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?

I wouldn’t want to redevelop housing that currently offers “affordable housing” to those in our community who hold the service jobs and other types of employment that we need here in the city.  We need to make certain that places like Layton Hall and Oak Knolls are well maintained and provide a decent place for people to live here in the city.  As we offer more options for people via apartments in the city, many may have an opportunity to move up.  Someday it may be wise to redevelop those places, but not until we have replacement housing in that market segment.

 

Ellie Schmidt

I once again point to the Comprehensive Development Plan which is in the process of being updated.  According to the draft of the Housing – Our Homes and Neighborhoods chapter, “Fairfax, in the middle both geographically and economically, offers housing that is considered relatively affordable by regional standards.”  That being said, I support the Fairfax Boulevard Master Plan Vision and Summary with mixed use development in the identified centers of Kamp Washington, Northfax and Fairfax Circle to include the possibility of apartments and or condominiums.  The economy will dictate the timing and extent of potential redevelopment.

 

Mayoral Candidate

Scott Silverthorne

●      Would you support increasing the city’s supply of apartments and/or condominiums in key areas, such as the Fairfax Boulevard nodes and Downtown? 

Higher density at the nodes makes sense but requires collaboration with the business community and the residential community.   As mayor, I would ensure all the parties have an opportunity to participate in the development discussions to ensure implementation of a shared vision for the City’s future.

 

●      How would you work to ensure the preservation of Fairfax’s existing apartments and neighborhoods that have relatively low housing costs?  

The city of Fairfax has the highest amount of affordable housing per capita in the northern Virginia region.   We also have a high number of apartments, some of which are long overdue for redevelopment.   Going forward, I support a balanced approach to housing with a combination of affordable, mid level and higher level housing in the City.

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