Letter to the Editor
October 9, 2018
This letter was sent to Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commissioners in support of workforce housing.
You will have before you on October 11 a proposal for a development that will build workforce rental housing in eastern Sussex County. The proposal would provide 20% of the units at rental rates affordable for those making 70% or less of the area median income. The other 80% of the housing units are priced at rents affordable to those making between 80 and 100% of area median income.
The League of Women Voters policy on Criteria for Housing Supply specifically urges that governments at all levels should develop policies that will assure sufficient land at reasonable cost on which to develop housing and will assure fulfillment of other goals such as access to employment, preservation of open space, environmental cleanliness and beauty and other aspects of a suitable living environment.
The policy also states that housing should be designed to meet human needs and should be built with amenities that will encourage economic integration within apartment buildings as well as within neighborhoods. Zoning practices and procedures should be promoted that counteract racial and economic isolation. Government, industry and labor should encourage innovative building techniques to reduce the cost of housing production.
The policy is quite comprehensive in delineating how to address the housing supply for residents of our community and decent housing for every American family. We are asking you to strongly consider this development because it fulfills a great need in our county and, more importantly, will begin to fulfill the goals in the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, as follows:
Goal 8.2: Ensure that a diversity of housing opportunities is available to meet the needs of residents of different ages, income levels, abilities, national origins, and household configurations.
Objective 8.2.1 Increase affordable and fair housing opportunities in the County.
Strategy 184.108.40.206 Improve the County’s SCRP and the MPHU Programs to provide incentives to properly reflect the housing market and incentivize developers to participate in the provision of affordable housing.
Strategy 220.127.116.11 Explore ways to incentivize private developers to provide more multi-family and affordable housing opportunities.
Objective 8.2.2 Work with private and public agencies to increase affordable rental and homeownership opportunities.
Our hope is that this development will be the beginning of private developers evaluating their future development to include affordable housing, whether rental or home ownership, throughout the county.
This proposal is east of Rte. 113 where there is currently considerable business and, therefore, job options for our residents. But, many of those workers cannot and do not live in the area because the housing is unaffordable. This development would open up the opportunity for workers to live close to their place of employment and save money on transportation cost.
The League does not support a particular development over another or a particular developer over another. Our goal is to promote a supply of housing that meets the needs of our community. We see this development as optimal in beginning to do that in Sussex County in a way that has not been proposed previously.
Tish Galu, LWVSC Land Use Committee
Martha Redmond, LWVSC President