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Hey_Hey

Affordable Housing Proposals

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In light of last night's disapproval/deferral of the proposed affordable housing ordinance by the Planning Commission, I would like to hear other thoughts about ways to move forward. I think everyone agrees that the cost to live in Nashville has gone up considerably in the last few years for both renters and home/condo buyers. I also think it goes without saying that we are having affordability issues because of our own success and the demand that Nashville is inducing.  If given the choice, I would rather live in a market that has rising housing costs as opposed to one that has flat or declining housing costs as declining housing costs generally indicate an area in decline, although there are obviously limits to that.  

As we move forward, how can we keep prices under control without making matters worse?  Is there a role for government through ordinances/zoning, funding, or both? Should government stay out of the issue completely and let the market proceed unfettered?  Is there another option out there to solve this problem?

Please discuss.

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This is an important topic to explore. I'm not convinced "affordable housing" is a problem per se, though I could be persuaded otherwise. I find it perplexing that our local government is expending a lot of time and energy on a problem it has not really articulated. What constitutes "affordable"? Does this problem include rentals as well as owned dwellings? If only owned dwellings, are we going to use an income-based standard to decide affordability, or some other standard, such as benchmarking against housing prices in peer cities? If an income standard, should it be a federal one such as the poverty line for public housing eligibility, or should it be locally derived? Or more broadly, should the solution be supply-side or demand-side; that is, should we make developers build cheaper housing or give buyers subsidies to afford market rates?

None of these questions seem to have been fully answered, so it seems like there is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing in an effort to placate a vocal minority's inchoate frustration. Though one could say that describes how our political process works most of the time, regardless of the issue.

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On 1/15/2016 at 10:57 AM, Hey_Hey said:

 If given the choice, I would rather live in a market that has rising housing costs as opposed to one that has flat or declining housing costs as declining housing costs generally indicate an area in decline, although there are obviously limits to that.  

You make a good point. If anything, one might expect local govt to get involved to prevent housing costs from falling, as that is the more worrisome side of the coin for any municipality, thinking long term. 

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