Saturday, February 24, 2024

James City County to look at future of housing with this new study

The county has called for a request for proposals from firms that can help lead a housing task force. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)
(Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)

James City County is creating a fiscal baseline to help determine the future direction of housing and public facility use in the county.

“One of the fundamental pieces to running a scenario-planning model, or developing it, is getting that fiscal impact model set up,” said Paul Holt, the county’s planning director. “That’s really the basis for determining future growth.”

Recently, county officials discussed the need for a fiscal impact study and update before completing the Comprehensive Plan update, according to documents from the county. 

The county’s Comprehensive Plan is a document that guides future development, policies and public services over the next 10 to 20 years, according to the county’s website. The current plan was adopted in 2015.

RELATED STORY: Here’s an update on James City County’s Comprehensive Plan

The topic of the fiscal impact model was set to be addressed again at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 13, but was pushed back to give more time to gather information on the process.

Holt said he’s not sure when the process for developing the fiscal impact model will be presented, but it will most likely be in a near future meeting as updates to the Comprehensive Plan are already underway.

Holt said the idea is to determine a baseline for understanding housing that is affordable for the workforce, meaning working families, Holt said.

The county’s Workforce Housing Task Force found in 2018 the average home price in the county was $316,500 and an individual or family would need an annual income of at least $79,000 to buy a home, according to documents from the county. 

In 2016, the median rent in the county was $1,236, which meant a household’s income would have to be at least $50,000 or more.

Those prices make it difficult for many families to come to the county and the task force found that in order to attract and maintain the necessary amount of workers to support the county’s growing facilities, there needed to be more workforce housing. Workforce housing is defined as the type of residences that a household with income below 100 percent area median income can afford.

“There’s definitely a need,” Holt said. 

To determine immediate and fiscal impacts of workforce housing, the task force will create a fact sheet for the Board of Supervisors that outlines the financial impact of homes based on a five-year rolling average. The fact sheet will be used also to determine the demand on various county facilities and resources as the area grows.

The task force will also include various workforce housing options which will be presented to the board with the goal of creating economically integrated neighborhoods.

Finally, the task force’s fact sheet will help craft strategies for the creation of more workforce housing in the county, such as soft second mortgages and long-term commitments to rent prices.

Should the resolution be adopted, Holt said the information would create a necessary baseline for moving forward with the Comprehensive Plan update.

“It’s not something that is going to show itself to the average citizen,” Holt said. “It’s all numbers and dollar amounts that will go into an Excel spreadsheet, and those are important pieces that we use to build the fiscal impact model.”

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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