“Addition without Subtraction”, i.e. adding new single-family development without removing existing multi-family affordable rental housing is an approach that many forward thinking cities support.
The need for affordable housing is a national problem; every community’s needs and obstacles to accomplishing this task are different. Affordable housing is usually rental, older and where our workforce lives; building affordable home ownership is also desirable but more costly without creative financing.
“Addition without subtraction” involves keeping what we have and adding new housing options that are more expensive so that we have a mix of both types of living arrangements.
Preservation of apartments:
In Sandy Springs we are fortunate to have a large inventory of this type of housing, which is a big asset that needs to remain affordable so that our workforce, including our teachers, first responders and others can live close to their jobs.
Preserving apartments while maintaining affordable rents is key to our city’s long-term vitality. Maintaining affordable rents also allows the renters to save towards home ownership instead of spending over 30% of their income on rent.
However, several threats exist to preserving this inventory:
- Lack of Community Will: not understanding the need for affordable housing
- Profit driven apartment owners increasing rents, pricing residents out of city
- Increased property values makes redevelopment attractive, reducing inventory
Alternative building sites:
On the North End we have 10 under-utilized strip shopping centers and several under-utilized office industrial parks…many of which could be attractive to redevelopment into home ownership opportunities.
- Incentivizing developers to build home ownership opportunities on these parcels instead of demolishing apartments is one way to “ADD without SUBTRACTION”.
- Building on under-utilized parcels usually also reduces the cost of demolition since there is little infrastructure to tear down…
Accommodation and “Right of Return”:
In instances where new development must displace residents, forward thinking cities are requiring developers accommodate the displaced residents and also allow them to return once the development is complete. This approach assures employers of a workforce which can remain in place, and the city of longevity and vitality.