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Report: Redevelopment Threatens Affordable Housing on the Pike

by ARLnow.com July 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm 4,291 137 Comments

A new report on affordable housing in Northern Virginia suggests that the redevelopment of Columbia Pike will make it difficult to preserve affordable housing along the corridor.

The report, commissioned by the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, examined three major corridors where redevelopment is underway: Alexandria’s Beauregard corridor, Fairfax County’s Baileys Crossroads area and Arlington’s Columbia Pike corridor.

All three areas, the report says, are affordable thanks to a “lack of private investment, along with poor transportation options and infrastructure” — attributes that have made the areas undesirable to more affluent residents. Now that the Arlington County is actively encouraging economic development and planning a new streetcar line along Columbia Pike, however, the “type of households” seeking to live on the Pike will likely change, leading to “opportunities” for the owners of existing affordable apartment complexes to “reposition their properties… to attract higher-income residents.”

According to the report, there are currently 7,736 affordable, privately-owned rental units along Columbia Pike. Even with the county’s planned efforts to preserve affordable housing on the Pike, however, the report cites county projections that predict 23 percent fewer affordable units by 2040 — a loss of nearly 1,800 affordable rentals.

That loss is expected to be concentrated among the 3,344 market-rate rentals that are affordable to residents who make between 60 and 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI). About half of the Pike’s 80 percent AMI units are projected to be lost by 2040, while the county focuses its efforts on preserving all of the 3,151 units affordable to those making 60 percent AMI or below. Meanwhile, the county is forecasting a 447 percent increase in market rate (non-affordable) units, or nearly 6,500 new units targeting more affluent renters.

The Alliance is recommending Arlington set “more aggressive targets” for affordable housing on the Pike while offering affordable housing financing that’s more lucrative than that offered by private developers. The Alliance also recommends using reduced property taxes as a “carrot” for preserving existing market-rate affordable apartments.

  • Steve85

    If they build up instead of accross than it won’t affect the numbers. They shoulf tear down the old apartment complexes and build high rise apartments. That will give enough space to build the middle and uppler class apartment and condos. Then everyone will be happy

    • Thes

      Fortunately, there is a major County planning effort now in progress to preserve and enhance affordable housing allong the Pike.

      • Arlington, Northside

        It can’t be done. Either you end up with the proverbial Houseing Project with its attached crime and poverty, or you end up with some perverse version of rent control like you find in NYC where folks figure out ways to keep these places on the way to building up their personal wealth at the expense of the taxpayers or landlord. The only way to truly preserve affordable houseing is to block the redevelopment, which is fine if you are holding back public investment, but violates the very idea of property rights if you block the private redevelopment.

        • Josh S

          Hardly.

          Just one other idea – developer X says hey I want to build eight stories of new condos. County says OK, we’ll give you the permits with the density bonus you want if you commit to selling 20% of those units at affordable rates. Put a covenant on the units requiring any resale for 30 years (or some period of time) of those units to also be at affordable rates. Same thing for new apartment buildings.

          It’s not perfect and I’m not even sure that the county can do it given Virginia rules, but it is another way.

          • Westover

            But then you are infringeing on the very idea property rights. This has already existed for publicly funded projects for some of of our county civil servants, one of the few ways our younger cops, teachers, and firefighters without a small trustfund can afford to buy in the county.

  • meh..

    In other words; Columbia Pike shouldn’t be allowed to grow and prosper as other areas have in Arlington??

    • G

      Exactly. How does preserving affordable housing on the pike benefit current home owners in the area?

      • how else

        they’ll be able to get their grass cut.

      • Chris Slatt

        It reduces traffic (lower income folks can live closer to their jobs in the county).

        It improves safety in event of an emergency (if our firefighters, police, etc can live within the county, it improves response time in case of major calamity)

        It helps retain the Pike’s diversity which helps retain the Pike’s variety, keeping the Pike from becoming “just another Clarendon”.

    • samsonite

      Nope. The report doesn’t say anything like that. Read the article, especially the last paragraph.

    • that’s almost their own fault

      Sure not to blame those there now, because it’s not the same folks it was 30 years ago… but when planning the metro and other major transit porjects that lead to the development and prosperity of other Arlington neighborhoods, South Arlington wanted NOTHING to do with the construction. They didn’t want to become over built and reconstructed… and now they’re suffering for it. So sure people are trying to remedy that since they’ve seen what else there is, but at this point, that’s sort of what that neighborhood is for…2 types of people 1) those that want to be “in arlington” but can’t afford the other areas that are outrageous or 2) those that still wanted nothing to do with it in the first place.

      Looking at 60-80% of Arlington mean income is sick… let’s be honest teachers in Arlington county can barely afford to live right off Columbia pike as is, I know because my brother and sister-in-law work for elementary schools and they pinched pennies to get the smallest townhouse in that area to try to be close to developments (and because the county gave them the smallest break for buying within the county that year only) and to their jobs and the area they grew up in (both N. Arlington) and it’s just outrageous you can’t even stay in your home town and work for a county you love because everyone wants to build up so much and over charge. I now live in Fairfax with a full time government because I’m not poor enough to be low income and not rich enough to live in most places within the county. It’s stupid.

      • ZoningVictim

        No, it’s not stupid. Stupid is living above your means to have an Arlington address. You moved to Fairfax instead, which was a smart move. It’s exactly the way it is supposed to be. It’s called freedom. You’re free to live wherever you can afford to, and I’m free (well sort of, I am the ZoningVictim after all) to improve my property as are all property owners.

        And your assumptions about South Arlington and who lives there and why are completely wrong. I could easily afford to live in Clarendon but I already have a good house. It is the first house I ever bought and was pretty rundown until we renovated it. I live here in South Arlington because it’s comfortable for me to live here, and I’m perfectly fine with the improvements to Columbia Pike (although I’m against the trolley).

        I’m simply not going to feel bad about the fact that someone making $56,000 a year can’t afford to live here on their own, and I’m never going to have any appreciation for my government taking my tax dollars to prop these people up in homes and apartments which they can’t afford.

        • FedUp

          +100

        • Josh S

          Freedom!

          Freedom to be poor!

          Freedom to be forced to live somewhere you don’t want to!

          Freedom to be condemned to a spiral of poverty because whatever you save on housing is eaten up by increased transportation costs!

          Let freedom ring!

          Look, Victim, I ain’t no communist but let’s not call it freedom. That’s sort of twisting things to fit your reality a bit, isn’t it?

          • madisonmanor

            So who holds a gun to their head and forces them to live here? Or to work here? Or do they CHOOSE to? What? They can choose to live or work somewhere else where they don’t have high housing or commuting costs? Blasphemy.
            Well, when I moved here 30 years ago, I was “forced” to live somewhere I didn’t want to, making only $14k per year. I was also “forced” to get a roommate because even where I chose (read: FREEDOM) to live, I still could not afford it on my own. I wasn’t willing to live above my means just to live in Arlington. But I damn sure worked hard and made it to the point where I COULD choose to live where I wanted.

          • Westover

            We have a LOT of military families in the area that do not get to choose where they live. Of course, as a society, we have choosen to subsidize the living expenses of our married and parent servicemembers.

          • madisonmanor

            But nobody forced them to join the military (even the few who had to choose between the military and jail time) – they knew they could live in crappy places (war zones as worse places than No. VA, for instance) – when they volunteered. And even then, unless they use base housing, they *still* can choose where they want to live and what kind of commute they are willing to endure. Just because you don’t make a whole lot of money doesn’t mean you don’t still have choices – you just have different options to consider.

    • Louise

      Why can’t an area grow and prosper AND preserve affordable housing? The two are not mutually exclusive.

      • ZoningVictim

        So who gets to decide which landowners get screwed out of the return they could be getting on their property if they weren’t forced to keep it “affordable.” How is it “freedom with liberty and justice for all” if the government decides who gets to prosper and who doesn’t or takes money from one class of people and gives it to another?

        • Baja

          Simple tradeoff; the developer agrees to allocate a small percentage of units as “affordable” for some amount of time (somewhere b/t 30 and 50 years) and in exchange the county allows them to build with greater height/density than zoning would otherwise allow. This doesn’t transfer money from one class of people to the other; it’s largely a win-win except for the increased density which leads to parking pressure/traffic, etc. which is why the county aims to do this in “transit-oriented” corridors. Great in concept, but the devil’s always in the (numerous, significant) details.

          • Carol_R

            The problem is that most subsidized housing ends up crime ridden & with problems.

            And I agree that it tramps on the property owner’s rights. It would be similar to the government forcing a restraurant to only server 99cent specials and not allow them to cater to upscale clients.

        • Josh S

          Oy. Wake up and smell the coffee. There IS NO free market. Never has been, never will be. So moaning about it is pointless.

          It’s a democratic society. People fight for their interests. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. (If you’re not rich, mostly you lose, but that’s beside the point.)

          Get it through your head – “freedom with liberty and justice for all” is not absolute. It is qualified. Because there are 300 million of us. It HAS to be qualified, otherwise we call it anarchy.

      • CW

        Louise, are you volunteering your property as the site of a future housing project?

        • Louise

          Don’t have any property to volunteer, sorry. If I did, I’d happily take on a proposal like Baja’s (above). I like increased density.

      • meh..

        Equal distribution should be the primary aim. How about EXTRA efforts be put into the massive amount of development already occurring elsewhere in N.Arlington? Funny how it seems like affordable housing is never really discussed or mentioned or even expected when talking about development in N.Arlington.

  • matt in lyon park

    They needed a report to tell us this? I sure hope they didn’t spend a lot of money and time on it.

    • Westover

      I was gonna say. Duh…..

  • MW

    If wealthy people move to Columbia Pike, they will create more affordable housing in the places they left. There will still be affordable housing, it will just be in a different place.

    • Assuming they’re all coming from Arlington

      New developments bring in new people. The Columbia Pike location is great for military and government workers who often move from out of state if not just out of county… sure there may be low income housing in other suburbs or states, but how does that help those living in Arlington and possibly for their whole lives who will then be forced to find other counties? The majority of low income housing left in Arlington is on waiting lists… even the properties that you think no one would ever want to live in. Some people aren’t spoiled and will take what they can get to be where they work or their children have the best school opportunities.

  • Steve85

    If Arlington wants to be a world class location it has to cater to every human kind. Yes the Pike need to be re-developed but u cannot forget about all demographics of the county. The R-B corridor is beautiful and Columbia Pike can look the same way. But it can done benefiting all demographics of the county. Everybody is not financially successful so you have to remember that the Baby Boomers are getting old as well so you need to make sure that they are taken care of as well. We can make Arlington a world class location by catering to the poor,middle and upper class people. We have a lot of opportunities here let’s share it among our fellow citizins.

    • meh..

      Again…at the expense of SOUTH ARLINGTON only right…..
      typical thinking.

      • They made that call

        South Arlington chose years ago to avoid being part of transit development… it’s not that North has something against South, that’s just cynical thinking. The fact is, as the article said, the housing was put there because the area simply wasn’t as convenient in development and transportation. That’s the residents and board members who were from South Arlington when metro came with their proposals. I love when people draw this silly line in the county like it’s some turf war. Everyone was included in the original construction, the housing was put there based on those decisions.

        • meh..

          I’m not trying to infer that N.Arlington has anything against S.Arlington…that’s be silly…we’re ALL Arlington & this whole N vs. S is not even a real thing.. I’m saying that I find it curious that the only time any REAL discussions are brought to the table regarding affordable housing in Arlington, it seems to only happen with development that occurs on the southern side of the county.

          • SouthArlingtonReady

            +1,000 – at least in terms of volume. We wouldn’t expect the county to give up its Gold Class property for the “Affordables.” They (ACB) can still pat themselves on the back for providing affordable housing (in 25 square miles of ARL)…so long as it overlooks a cinder pile or rundown warehouses. I mean come on now…that’s good enough for “them.”

            Just sayin’

          • Josh S

            Just sayin’ how ignorant you are? The location of existing affordable housing developments in Arlington is available for all to see on the county website. There is plenty in North Arlington. And even much of what is in South Arlington is essentially indistinguishable from market-rate buildings.

          • jjbug1

            Ahem. Your accusations don’t jibe with my knowledge of my RB Corridor neighborhood, Next street, an AACH shelter occupies 2 bldgs serving 8 or more families. 4 blocks away Doorways for Women has a shelter for multiple families. 2 blocks away is the County daytime activity center for persons with mental problems. Easily reached – maybe 5 blocks away – is a group home for people with mental problems. I can walk easily to the Courthouse area thermal-shelter for homeless people (open only under winter conditions).

            In our neighborhood, use of cars is diminishing. Some of the hi-rise condo owners even rent their underground parking space to a working person needing a regular parking place! As I go out each day to walk the streets, the activity on the streets confirms that people in this neighborhood are not dependent on their cars to find enjoyable moments!

            I drive to S Arl for my favorite theaters: Signature in Shirlington and American Theater often at Gunston. I go, too, to the Shirlington bldg housing AFAC as well as A-Span, and nearby, the SEEC center which serves another greatly tested group in Arlington.

            If Arlington is not doing enough to help people with problems, please suggest what the Columbia Pike group can do. I have attended lectures on how the County hopes to augment new assets to all parts of the County to address the need to maintain here in our County places where all who teach, police, firemen, and – yes, to some extent – maids, bartenders, waiters, store salesmen, etc. We need all kinds of workers in every part of Arlington.

          • Baja

            Not true. Arlington Housing Corporation has a ton of affordable housing in N. Arlington, particularly in the R-B corridor. They’ve brought hundreds of units online in the past few years with the Gates of Ballston and the soon-to-be opened Jordan.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Too bad few folks with jobs can qualify to live in them.

    • SomeGuy

      With all due respect Steve, your post says some nice touchy-feely things, but it’s all based on a nebulous premise: “a world class location…has to cater to every human kind.”

      What’s “world class?” And why must it include providing low-income housing? There are plenty of places in the country where a person can get affordable housing, and people get priced out of their desired areas every single day, particularly newcomers who didn’t buy prior to increases in real estate values.

      I get the well-meaning intentions of affordable housing, but where do we draw the line? Hell, I’d like to live in a 4BR/4BA house in the heart of Clarendon, but in that case I’m priced out too.

      • Jackflops!

        Some guy, excellent points. The CB is really high on itself promoting the county as “World Class”–and as far as I can tell, it means bragging rights when they go on junkets to conferences on mixed-use development, so they can brag to like-minded people.

        How are we “world class” when our schools are overcroweded, our parks littered, our highways overgrown with wild shrubs, and as the “almost their own fault” above mentioned, two teachers can barely afford a TH here?

        They really are pursuing a policy that in 20 years WILL mean the only people living in Arlington will be the extremely wealthy and the very poor, because there won’t be housing for anyone else.

        • Hilarious

          You know, Jackflops!, I was going to say the same exact thing.

          Isn’t the county, by focusing on retaining the <60% housing at the expense of the <80% housing, widening the gap between the higher-income and lower-income people? Wouldn't it be more fair to maintain the same percentage of cuts across all groups requiring "assistance"?

          Also, the article doesn't appropriately add up the number of units. they say there are only 3151 affordable housing units below the 60% line, however, a significant percentage of the 1241 CAFS units should be included in that number, as well as the relevant Section 8 housing and Housing Grants Program units. I couldn't easily find the percentage of each of those other programs (CAFS, S8, HGP, etc.) that is under the 60% income line but I would expect at least half of those should be included. That would mean that the 3151 units actually becomes 4136 at or below the 60% line.

          And seriously, if Arlington keeps taxing at the rate that they have been, who on Earth do they think is going to be able to afford anything in Arlington? They want to provide all this assistance to people but then they restrict the number of housing units which would attract people making more money. That then causes the prices for the remaining rental and non-rental properties to go up, which prevent less affluent people from being able to afford non-rental housing, which then will further increase the income gap.

          I'm not an economist but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Arlington taxes are some of the lowest rates in the DC area.

        • Josh S

          I’m not going to defend the marketing banality of “world class” since I agree it’s mostly meaningless.

          However, I think anyone who complains about Arlington’s living conditions hasn’t spent much time outside the neighborhood.

    • Bobb-o

      you must be poor…

      dont ruin it for us wealthy folks

      • Steve85

        I’m not poor. Everybody is not fortunate as others. Not everybody can afford large rents. Have a heart punk. And to the SomeGuy comment people move to new places looking for opportunites. You might not be able to pay real high rent at the start but after time when it come you can move to a location of your choice. Clarendon isn’t the best blace to live in Arlington anyways. Clarendon is nothing but a fake wanna be southern California place. Get a life

        • John Fontain

          “Everybody is not fortunate as others. Not everybody can afford large rents. Have a heart punk.”

          What have you done for the less fortunate? Are you renting out part of your pad to them at below market rents?

          • Steve85

            No you jerk we are in a recession do u want to see familes living on the street bc their parent lost their job due to the economy and they can’t afford to live nowhere else due to high rent. If you have affordable housing that can help a family that could afford a particular amount of rent and survive until things get better for them. Like I said have a heart. I am successful but I have seen situations like this and if you had a heart you will feel bad for people who are put it situations like this.

          • ZoningVictim

            There is no such thing as affordable housing for unemployed people. If people lose their jobs, they’re not going to be able to prove income to get a less expensive place to live. That’s why it’s so easy for people to end up homeless.

            My point is that there is plenty of affordable housing about 30 minutes further out. Arlington is in high demand and that pushes prices up so some people have to move to another community. That’s just the way it works and I can’t understand how anybody feels entitled to live in a certain community instead of 30 minutes away.

          • Josh S

            Which low income person have you talked to that felt “entitled” to live in Arlington?

          • Josh S

            “Look, low income person, we’ve got these designated areas outside the Beltway for you. We were gonna call them townships, but then we learned that term had some unfortunate implications. We know they’re not as nice, but that’s just the way it is. Freedom, you know? And oh, by the way, where is your travel permit allowing you into the county anyway?”

          • John Fontain

            I’ll take that as a “no.” Actions speak louder than words.

          • Hilarious

            It’s easy to get on a moral “high horse” and say we should be helping out all the less fortunate people. It’s really hard to disagree with that… except for me personally knowing someone who lives in “affordable” housing in Arlington that has absolutely no right to do so. They are simply the most lazy and pathetic person I know. They had a full time job and quit because “it was too stressful” and so now they stays at home all day playing on their laptop and messing with Facebook.

            If I personally know someone, then statistically speaking, there should be many more out there. Don’t get me wrong, a mother of 14 who has ten jobs and still can’t afford a house near work should get a “leg up” until she gets her financial house in order; but I haven’t seen one of those yet.

          • Josh S

            Why is it a “high horse?” So, if your morals involve concern for the basic necessities of those less fortunate than yourself, you’re on a “high horse?”
            Jeez, I knew things were bad in 21st century America, but I didn’t realize they were that bad.

        • ZoningVictim

          Seriously, you’re referring to people who make $75K a year as “less fortunate?” What a joke. This is why this country is going broke. Soon we’ll be talking about how people who make $100,000 a year are less fortunate and need money from the other tax payers so they don’t have to move to Springfield where they belong. It’s getting ridiculous.

          • samsonite

            Funny, when it comes time to talk about tax increases, you sure hear alot of people saying anyone under $100K is “less fortunate.”

          • SomeGuy

            No. You don’t hear that they’re less fortunate in the sense that they demand subsidies. I think what you hear is that they are not “rich,” as some would characterize them as a precursor for the followup “you can afford a tax increase” mantra.

          • doodly

            Same principle though. You hear that they “can’t bear” any more taxes.

          • ZoningVictim

            And some talk about people who make $200K a year as though they are rich, which is equally silly. If we just went to a flat tax where everyone, including the “less fortunate” under $100K crowd, paid a fair rate, we probably wouldn’t have so many people against tax hikes. But we all know that this call for more taxation on the mean nasty rich people when almost half of the workers in the country doesn’t pay any income tax is simply a redistribution of income.

          • doodly

            How dare we have a progressive tax system!

            If those people who pay no tax paid more, it would be a pittance anyway because…they don’t make much. Duh.

          • Hilarious

            @ doodly

            I don’t think ZoningVictim was necessarily against the progressive tax system. I believe he’s against the progression starting at ZERO and staying at ZERO until it affects the paying half of the population.

          • ZoningVictim

            Hilarious is exactly right. Having 40% of the voting workers out there paying no tax is exactly why we have huge entitlement programs, and it bothers me that there are people out there that don’t pay their way at all. If someone is going to give you a service for free and make your neighbor down the block pay for it, why wouldn’t you vote for them?

            Doodly you are incorrect in your assumption that the bottom 50% of wage earners in this country don’t make much. They make about $1.1 billion dollars. They take in 12.75% of the AGI, yet they pay only 2.7% of the income tax base. I don’t mind a slightly progressive tax, but that’s kind of ridiculous. They also live in a country that is in the top five for wages earned. So they’re not really poor by the worlds standards (even some of the richest parts of the world), they just want some of what the rest of us have.

          • ZoningVictim

            Obviously, I meant $1.1 trillion, not billion.

          • CW

            Ok, taxes aside, with respect to zoningvictim’s original comment, it’s silly to talk about absolute values of income. What should be discussed is buying power relative to cost of living. In those terms, a family making $75k and trying to live anywhere in Arlington County is less fortunate. Rents and property values are on the order of 3 to 4 times those of most “normal” parts of the country (name any 100,000 person town) and salaries do not measure up. If you really think they should all move to Springfield then let’s see what happens when we have a working-class drain and the county can’t find any teachers, firemen, paramedics, etc., let alone tradespeople.

          • SomeGuy

            CW, the problem is that the entire income tax code uses absolute values of income, including the incitements to raise taxes on the “rich.” But as you say, let’s ignore taxes for the sake of this discussion.

            You really think the teachers, firemen, paramedics, and tradespeople won’t find a way to get to their higher-paying Arlington jobs from somewhere slightly removed from the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor or Columbia Pike? I’m not even talking about ALL THE WAY from Springfield. I’m just talking about from somewhere that is not directly on these corridors, which is what this ArlNow post is all about.

          • CW

            Ok, so take out these corridors and tell me where you expect people to live. Beside, that’s not the point. The point is that they’re going to move a hell of a lot further away than Springfield, to someplace where they can actually own a home and keep their heads above water. Why would they stay around for jobs paying 10% more when the cost of housing is 300% higher?

          • ZoningVictim

            CW, you’re making an assumption that’s just not true. There are plenty of affordable houses in Springfield that a person making $75K a year can get.

          • CW

            I was talking about a family making $75K.

          • SomeGuy

            CW, are you really arguing that the only places to live in Arlington are those that are directly on the Orange Line or on Columbia Pike? Because I would dispute that. As would the graphic you provided.

            And I’m not suggesting that every last person who couldn’t afford housing would stay in Arlington. I was suggesting that those who want to work in Arlington will typically find a way to get to their jobs whether they live within the confines of county borders or not, which includes whether or not they live directly on RB-Corridor or the Pike. Ya know, kinda like some people who work downtown commute from Woodbridge, Herndon, Annapolis, and plenty of other far away places.

            It comes down to a cost-benefit analysis.

          • John Fontain

            CW said: “Why would they stay around for jobs paying 10% more when the cost of housing is 300% higher?”

            And yet they do right now.

          • CW

            @SomeGuy and John; right, and the driver of this discussion was that a part of the county that is currently less expensive could become developed and thus more expensive. So perhaps their options would be limited in the future. I’m not arguing that they only could live on the R-B corridor or Columbia Pike. But what I am saying is that as the disparity between cost of living/available affordable housing and wages grows, it may force people out. That’s all.

          • SomeGuy

            CW, I never said people might not get priced out. I was challenging your assertion that we’ll have a “working-class drain and the county can’t find any teachers, firemen, paramedics, etc., let alone tradespeople.”

            I’m pretty sure we’ll still be able to find people who want those jobs, and God forbid if we did have that trouble, then I guess we’d have to offer them more salary to persuade them to work in the county. So be it, but it wouldn’t be a pure subsidy in that case.

          • Jackflops!

            “Let’s see what happens when we have a working-class drain and the county can’t find any teachers, firemen, paramedics, etc., let alone tradespeople.”

            Agree 100%–which is why we need to limit the County’s official “affordable” housing (available only to families with household income of 30K year or less) so that the folks you mentioned (making household income of 75K-150K) can afford something.

          • JimPB

            Already all but a few ArlCo firefighters live outside ArlCo.

          • Arlington, Northside

            True, and the only ones I know of that still do have professional spouses or were able to take advantage of “affordable” housing deals.

          • ZoningVictim

            Those people will drive in to work. Kind of like our former Zoning Administrator lives in Centerville. I’m not buying the argument that there will be a drain on the availability of working class people in Arlington. Heck, the contractor I hired to do our renovation lives and has his facilities in Manassas. Not everything is going to become a million dollar home just because of the revitalization of Columbia Pike.

          • doodly

            CW, great point, and on topic.

        • SomeGuy

          Kind of a dickish retort, Steve85, considering how polite I was in trying to help you articulate your vague warm-fuzzy notions that ignore any concept of a marketplace.

          That’s all for now, but feel free to enlighten everyone here about where the best place in Arlington is so we can avoid getting sucked into that unfortunate “fake wannabe” place called Clarendon.

          In the mean time, I won’t bother trying to parse what you mean by “world class.”

          • Steve85

            I have no problems with Clarendon. But its not the best place to live in Arlington. Its just my opinion.

          • SomeGuy

            Your opinion was also that I need to “get a life,” right?

          • steve85

            Look bro I’m not scared of you. Just understand were I coming from. Let’s not displace citizins of Arlington county residents just bc their rent is cheap and they are not able to pay the amount that upper class residents are able to pay. I’m just respecting all individuals that lives in Arlington. New York is a world class city and it caters to all people. Poor, middle, and upper class lives in NYC. That’s why businesses wants to move there bc of opportunities and small businesses are successful. Arlington can do the same here. We have done it b4 and we can continue doing it in the future. I think we have turned out good so far

          • watching the catfight

            Don’t tase me bro.

          • SomeGuy

            Well, “bro,” I’m glad you’re not scared, because I wasn’t trying to scare you. I was, however, trying to understand your position on affordable housing and your meaning of “world class.” That was before you tried to dismiss my efforts with “get a life.”

            It’s now clear from your writing style and demeanor that getting you to define anything involving “class,” let alone display any, is a wasted effort.

          • JamesE

            Come at me, bro!

          • Tre

            I’m thinking ARLnow should add a ‘Mortal Combat’ type add-in to the comment sections and let people e-duke it out. Nobody is scared because we are all anonymously sitting behind the nice warm glow of our computers, alt-tabbing between Microsoft Office and Gchat.

          • ArlingtonSouth

            Rent and mortgage prices are determined on the open market everyday. Rent control is a tool used to assist those on limited incomes. However, one cannot stop private property owners from charging whatever the market will bear.

            In Arlington, the market bears quite a bit thanks to a transient population that works in a city that adjusts cost of living every 6 months (thanks Fed!).

            No one doubts that a community should do what it can to create available housing for all. However, it cannot stop private owners from doing all that they are allowed within zoning requirements.

            Additional affordable housing requirements for Arlington will represent additional need for tax dollars to offset subsidies or direct allocations. That will require additional density to allow for population growth that pays taxes. That will require more land to be rezoned for new development.

            Perhaps you should look into asking the County to charge a toll at the border on Columbia Pike as a means of funding tax burdens for Arlington for public use of Arlington Co. property (the Pike).

    • ZoningVictim

      So poor people are required to be counted as world class? Detroit must be [email protected]

    • Louise

      Nice statement.

  • Donkey Icon

    Progress is a [email protected] isn’t it?

  • YTK

    Who the hey wants to be DISPLACED and RELOCATED just so the higher-up Mucky Mucks can move in??!!!
    Columbia Pike is really going downhill– no matter how “Upscale” or pretentious it tries to be.

    • samsonite

      It’s “Muckety Mucks”.

    • ArlingtonSouth

      Nobody wants to be displaced or relocated.

      However, you won’t find capitalist private apartment/land owners who are willing to provide affordable housing unless they are given an incentive. Such as, no real estate taxes.

      You could then have a not-for-profit or some community organization purchase and operate the building/land then.

      In the end, any tax-paying citizen begins to provide all of the subsidy to provide housing. And lets be honest, no matter who owns and operates it, there’s never enough cash on those to make the requisite building code improvements or provide anything beyond the barest of essentials. And one day, we will all call it a blight.

  • of course they are going to say that. Duh.

    • Burger

      That was my thought. Group advocating for more affordable housing pushes out report that says more money is needed for affordable housing. It is like my daughter saying she needs more allowance because she used all of it up on candy.

  • Steve85

    Remember the only reason why the R-B corridor looks the way it does now is b/c they moved the orange line to go under wilson blvd when it had supposed to run under Columbia Pike.

    • Burger

      Where do you get that. My understanding of history on the Orange line was that it was to follow 66’s median – much like EFC outward and the county pushed it along Wilson.

      As a practical matter, running along CP would make much sense given its proximaty to parts of the blue line

      • steve85

        Skyline city was built with the presumption that metro was coming there. Check the history of Skyline City and you will get some more info.

      • The 2nd proposal

        Originally it was to generally maintain the “going west” motion/line of 66, but to divert off and hit Columbia pike so that both North and South were included in the development and could equally prosper. South didn’t want it. They edited and made 4 stops within a 1/4 mile intentionally because folks MIGHT use the metro stops within .5 mi from their home as often as they wanted and therefor even the stops “between” the two or on the outskirts could have multiple options of locations to use.

    • Lou

      It was not the Orange Line that was going down Columbia Pike. It was to branch off of the Blue Line near the Pentagon. The stub tunnels were actually dug in case they ever want to follow through.

      • SouthArlingtonReady

        Then it would make even more sense to dig up the Pike and tunnel the Blue Line down through. At first I was a Street Car advocate but I fear it will already be at capacity before it is built and will only slow the traffic on the Pike.

  • derp

    so there’ll be roughly a 23% less chance of being hit by an unlicensed, reckless driver?

  • I got that PMA

    Progress is one thing. But, selling out S. Arlington is another thing. S.Arlington was built by poor in the 1940’s who moved here to build the Pentagon or immigrants from all over the world, trying to make a life here. down? Too many immigrants and working class people living in Arlington for you? You want to knock it all down?

    • Burger

      So people that no longer live there or more likely are dead have some control over what that county does 70-80 years later?

      • atown

        Actually… the one thing that Arlington seems to be forgetting is for as small a space as it and as much as it’s developed over the years… there are still A LOT of Arlington families that have generations of roots here. It’s funny I go to a bar or out to dinner and someone asks where I’m from and I say “here” and they roll their eyes and I get a “no really” or “no, not where do you live, where are you from?” It seems hard to believe, but Arlington is a great place to be raised and to stay and not just be some young 20 something who wanted to get out into the big city, but is too scared to be in a real city like DC so they pick the fancy pants developed suburb that’s built itself as an extension of the city. A lot of my friends can’t afford to live here, but they grew up here, got their degrees and were luck enough to find jobs, some even in our own government system… sure they got security that others might not, but they can’t afford to move back to their home town if they don’t want to live at home?? That’s not logical. I’m not saying the choices the county residents made in the past should never change, but just because someone comes into a new town and wants to develop it a certain way to their liking doesn’t mean it has no history of it’s own, or residents who like some of the developments but still like their hometown feeling like it still has a chance to look like a home town.

        • CW

          Typical “local” argument…”I remember when Arlington was such a quiet little quaint utopia before all these damn kids came in and ruined it with their condos and their leased german cars and their cupcakes. Ooh, Cava just opened! Let’s go there for dinner tonight! Stupid property taxes keep going up. Hey look honey, our new appraisal came in…$1.5 mil! I guess that $30k dad bought the place for back in ’59 really paid off!”

          I have nothing against locals (duh), and I like to know a region’s history and see places preserve their local identity. Even though I’m a transplant, I make a concerted effort to get off the beaten path and see some of the local flavor that the big-city-wannabe types miss while they’re hanging out at the bars 24/7. However, sometimes there seems to be a distinct element of hypocrisy from those who love the positives that development and modernization bring, but want to keep it all to themselves.

          • FedUp

            “Back in the day” Arlington looked like a dump. Really. Clarendon looked like an underdeveloped country. I am pleased that development came with metro and turned the county into the place that it is today. I look forward to South Arlington getting the same type of makeover.

          • Arlington, Northside

            How far “Back in the day” are you talking? 50’s to mid-70’s Clarendon was a great business district anchored by a great Sears. The construction of Metro tore up the corridor and distoryed the business opportunities between the late 70’s and mid-90’s, it took over a decade for Clarendon to recover from what Metro did to it, and another 5-7 years to really grow into what it is today.

        • Born and raised in atown

          +1000 atown. The neighbors I knew growing up in S. Arlington were all professionals, not poor and not immigrants. They chose the proximity of S. Arlington to downtown DC to commute to the Pentagon, the Federal government or private firms and or medical jobs.

          • CW

            Back in those days, pre-metro, pre-traffic, and pre-housing-bubble, I wouldn’t doubt it. A leisurely five-minute drive down the Pike to a reserved surface parking spot at the Pentagon must have been pretty sweet. Times have changed.

          • Donkey Icon

            You’re a transplant, no one likes you. Go back to whatever crappy city you moved from.

          • CW

            Yawn.

    • derp

      ah nice… always a great way to win an argument.

  • Arlwhenever

    This report is developer driven drivel that has a distinct “we have to destroy the village to save it” mentality that surfaced during the military lunacy of the Viet Nam era.

    The report’s affordable housing falderal is about giving developers the gift of dramatically increased density facilitated by a government sponsored price discrimination scheme to drive increased profits.

    To date not a single apartment or condo unit has been destroyed by redevelopment along Columbia Pike. No new re-development starts are currently scheduled. Any such projects that may start are at least three years away from completion and would likely be at sites like the Rosenthal dealership at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, currently used for purposes other than housing. Nobody who is truly poor would be able to afford any of the so-called “committed” affordable housing produced.

    Yes, rents have risen for apartments along the Pike as they have virtually everywhere in the Washington metropolitan area. That’s been driven by a flood of federal spending and, derivatively, local employment. Rents have gone up while home prices have are not much changed in the past few years because in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown documentation, minimum income, employment history and down payment requirements have made it tougher to get financing for a home or condo purchase, driving populations into the rental market. Indeed, three of the four major projects completed along Columbia Pike were originally planned as condo projects, but were converted to “luxury apartment rentals” when the home mortgage market crashed. A portion of the increase in rental rates is due to adding these apartments to the mix. When the inevitable defense spending cuts come and the Federal Government is forced to exercise fiscal restraint, rents will stop rising.

    Incredibly, developers along Columbia Pike who benefit from the report’s redevelopment schemes aren’t be required to pay for the streetcar, and aren’t being assessed for a fair share of the billion or so dollars of infrastructure need for storm water management facilities and school capacity.

    • Thes

      @Arlwhenever: Regarding your quote: “Incredibly, developers along Columbia Pike who benefit from the report’s redevelopment schemes aren’t be required to pay for the streetcar, and aren’t being assessed for a fair share of the billion or so dollars of infrastructure need for storm water management facilities and school capacity.” It would help places like Arlington alot if we got state law changed to allow this sort of contribution from developers.

      • cj

        “allow”? How about “require”?

      • Arlwhenever

        Prince William County and Loudon assess developers all the time, in Loudon’s case, up to $54K per unit. It’s allowed, Arlington County chooses not to go the route.

      • Thes

        @CJ I would be happy for either one.

    • Jackflops!

      Kudos for using paragraphs and actual punctuation. And caps!

      Question: “Nobody who is truly poor would be able to afford any of the so-called “committed” affordable housing produced.”

      Hold on. I’m 99% sure the housing you mentioned is in fact restricted to the truly poor–those with income below a certain threshold. (Remember the ArlNow story a few months back about the teachers et al. getting booted from their apartments in Rosslyn because they make too much to qualify for the county’s official affordable housing?)

      I would venture that new “official” affordable housing would have the same super-poor people who live in the dumpy apartments on the Pike already–but not as many. Those who don’t sign up in time will ahve to go elsewhere. The working class who aren’t that poor will be screwed as usual–and will move to FFX county.

      • Arlwhenever

        Affordable kicks in at sixty percent of area median income, which is above $60K per year, less than most posting on this blog, but not poor.

        • Jackflops!

          But is that per person or per household?

          • ZoningVictim

            Per household; the median income for Arlington was $96,218 in 2009 according to city-data.com.

          • Josh S

            It varies by how many people are in your household.
            The numbers are published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
            The well-publicized median income numbers (such as the $96K quoted here) are for a household of 4. For each person you add or remove from the household the median income goes up or down by about 10%.

            As far as when “affordable” “kicks in”, it depends on the program.

  • Chris M.

    Did I read this right?? There are people getting subsidized housing because they make 80% of the average income in THIS area? By what warped standard is that equitable?

  • JimPB

    Social problems are reduced if lower income folk are disbursed from often disadvantaged communities in to more economically affluent communities with better schools and other facilities.

    What about ArlCo having the goal of each and every community in the county representing the county’s population with benefit of various policy initiatives, e.g., attractive, affordable priced units for say two, three or four families disbursed throughout the county?

  • MikeinArlington

    If we were to change the term “Affordable Housing” with the real-world appropriate “Taxpayer-Subsidized Crime Hub” I wonder how much support it would get. Feel free to walk by Green Valley any night and let us know how it goes.

    • JimPB

      No one wants to get assaulted or robbed or have their property vandalized.
      But the most costly and disruptive crime by far is that perpetrated by white collars. They have access to BIG money, and some of them take advantage of this opportunity; they cost us plenty.

      • ZoningVictim

        While I agree with the sentiment that this country doesn’t take white collar crime as serious as it should, this statement is somewhat absurd when compared to a rape, a malicious wounding or a murder.

  • John Fontain

    If the Arlington County Board approved a WalMart in Shirlington, Arlington’s lower income residents would be able to spend less on consumables and, therefore, have more money to pay for the cost of shelter.

  • Joe

    People are discovering all kinds of abominations coming out of the Arlington County Board.

  • MC

    The current rents are comparatively cheap because the housing stock is substandard. By the report’s reckoning, only a handful of current Pike residents make at least the average income, the overwhelming proportion earn below average incomes. For a major Arlington thoroughfare to be permanently condemned to being low income would be a horrible outcome for anyone who has seen major parts of Arlington mired in underinvestment for decades. There is no fairy godmother who will modernize the housing stock here without making it attractive to the people willing to pay the rents necessary to support such modernization.

    • Louise

      “Permanently condemned to being low income”? “Mired in underinvestment”? Have you visited Columbia Pike recently? Within blocks of my condo: Cinema Drafthouse, excellent dining options, and a brand new Giant. Farmers’ Market, Rite Aid, beautiful park/recreation center. Lost Dog, new gym, fun bars like the LA Bar and Grill . . . and don’t forget Dunkin’ Donuts!! No, it wasn’t Clarendon. But we don’t need another Clarendon. NOBODY needs a Cheesecake Factory . . .

  • I got that PMA

    Throw-away society and WalMart is the answer to our problems? I’m done, there is no hope for anyone on here.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Another of our self-rightious readers has left the comment section!

  • nota gain

    there really should be affordable housing located in in the photo? That is a prime location. Sorry, if you cant afford to live here/there, go further west young people and pay your fair share of taxes.

  • Truthi

    Funny how this comes out just after the charette. do we have a non profit group trying to manipulate the results?

  • I got that PMA

    self-righteous? I’m sure, you are talking about yourself. I’m just a person that can see, there is no hope. Too many people in Arlington are happy to sell out and just get in line.

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