Editor: In recent years, I have observed much handwringing by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors over an alleged lack of housing for low- and middle-income residents. I strenuously object that there exists any crisis of “affordable housing” in Loudoun County.
1. All housing is “affordable” to those who can afford it. Individuals make such decisions.
2. There are stages in life. At different stages, and based upon life decisions and circumstances, people can “afford” different things.
3. Calling everything a “right” diminishes needed emphasis upon real rights.
4. There exists no “right” to live in the community where we work. I and countless other Americans have at various times commuted long distances to employment in places we could not afford to live, often finding opportunity and better income, making commute worth the effort. Commuting to a job is often part of life for mature and responsible citizens. Decisions about where to live are up to the individual, based upon factors such as cost of living, quality of life, proximity to family, work, church, schools, and so forth. There are many low-cost living options within commuting range of Loudoun County.
Good government does not spend its taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on problems that don’t exist. As a family already paying high taxes in Loudoun County, we do not want you chasing foolish and wasteful programs based upon false premises. Please stop talking about “affordable housing.” To me that term is code for using our taxes to meddle in the marketplace, transforming Loudoun for the political benefit of those supervisors pushing such policies. That is not public service—it is malfeasance.
Realizing, however, that the malfeasance of this county board is likely to continue, may I at least suggest one way to make it less egregious: Extend the definition of “low cost housing” (or whatever euphemism the board chooses to assign) to include homes, condos and townhomes for sale. I do not propose subsidizing any building project. Rather, I mean considering a rule that (for example), for every certain number of units built for sale in the county, at least one must be priced under ($__) per square foot and sold to a qualifying individual or family, which home they could re-sell at market value after 10 years of residence.
Such a rule would make builders look good and those exceeding the letter of the law by producing more qualifying units could even brag about it, maybe even competing for the honor. Also, unlike generational welfare, what I propose would help people in tough circumstances by providing an ownership and accessible entry point with potential to reap the benefits of growth after the passage of time. As a final aside, such a general free-market approach, with ownership as the ideal, would convey dignity and responsibility to the benefactors, while recognizing builders for their part in lending a helping hand.
Best of all, it could be done with virtually no expenditure by the county.
Daniel Brubaker, Lovettsville