Loudoun County Board of Supervisors hosts affordable housing summit

Their goal is to attract and retain business in the area

LEESBURG, Va. - The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors hosted a special housing summit to discuss affordable housing in the area.

Loudoun County has been ranked as the wealthiest county in the United States by the U.S. Census Bureau, and housing costs reflect that statistic.

According to the Dulles Area Association of Realtors, the average cost of a home in the county is over $500,000, and the Economic Development Advisory Commission said that fact doesn't look good for industry in the area.

They said a lack of affordable housing will fail to attract and retain businesses.

"That is why the chamber strongly supports more robust local policies directed at increasing the availability of a wide range of housing options, for both sale and rental, to meet the needs of Loudoun's growing economy, population and workforce," said Eric Johnson, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

Local officials are taking action to resolve the housing crisis by bringing on board the stakeholders committee from Envision Loudoun, but the board has to take into account other factors in addition to just new buildings.

Things like traffic, schools, fire and rescue and infrastructure will all determine where, when and how these options will be built. 

Speakers brought input before the board, representing different groups and their interests.

The elderly and homeless were discussed, but one speaker said even the county's educators, like one named Cathy, can't afford to live and work in the area.

"She has been teaching for nearly 18 years and currently shares a house with two other teachers. She has given up a long commute and an apartment in Winchester in order to live in Loudoun. She made this tradeoff to benefit our kids," said David Palanzi, President, Loudoun Education Association.

Staff recommended a few policy solutions, like amending zoning ordinances and developing a revolving loan program using the housing trust fund.

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