By Raven Payne, ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Have you ever wondered what goes on before you see those construction buildings go up? Have you ever thought of the planning that happens behind the scenes? Well At the Phoenix Land Use and Livability Subcommittee meeting last week the Affordable Housing team revealed their multi-step initiative for housing where they also asked for approval of recommendations for redevelopment of city-owned land for affordable housing.
Using a quarterly report from October shows the progress of the plan.
Initiative one of the plan is to prioritize new housing in areas of opportunity. That includes involving a “scoring matrix” to be used for zoning cases that prioritizes projects that align with the city’s objectives and encourages affordable housing development in high opportunity areas.
Initiative two deals with zoning in terms of expanding the walkable urban code including much of the scoring involving distances to bus stops, schools hospitals, job centers, and light rails considering the area covered by the light rail will be increased after this year.
Housing Director Cindy Stotler had this to say,
“Planning and Development are currently working on automating the scoring using the G.I.S. system,” she said.
Initiative three involves the redeveloping of city-owned land with mixed-income housing.
Initiative four is to enhance public-private partnerships and increase financing.
“We know we can’t do this alone. The private sector has recognized the need for affordable housing and created their own solutions for funding. We have been working closely with business and community groups who are creating non-governmental affordable housing funds such as Home Matter Arizona and the Arizona Housing Fund,” Stotler said.
Initiative five provides assistance with building codes, plan review, permitting, and infrastructure costs.
Initiative six looks to increase affordable housing development representation on boards and commissions like village planning committees, planning commission, and the development advisory board.
“We are working with the Mayor’s office to create a check box for affordable housing developers…this change will be implemented by the end of this year.”
Initiative seven includes preserving housing stock. Through this, they have created a community land trust program which ensures long-term affordability by maintaining ownership of the land on which a single- family home is built. The community land trust acquires the property and builds or rehabilitates the home then sells the home to a low-income family. This is beneficial for low-income families because they only have to mortgage the home and not the land, thereby lifting extra cost stress off of their shoulders.
“Housing will sell five vacant scattered sized homes to the New Town Community Land Trust and Pride (Phoenix Residential Investment Development Effort) will fund the remodeling of the homes.”
With the numerous housing plans and initiatives coming up in the next year, it looks like Phoenix’s median home price of $302,500 and median sales price in Maricopa County, $309,990, might go down.
Sheree Bouche, a participating member of the Phoenix Housing Plan? Spoke further on initiative three.
The construction process and planning includes the use of single and multi-family parcels to be set aside for this city-owned land policy initiative.
“We have reviewed the city’s excess parcels with real estate and have selected parcels that would be appropriate for housing development. Today, we are requesting to set aside these parcels for the potential future development of affordable or mixed-income housing,” Bouche said.
District three includes parcels off of Dunlap and 7th street.
In District 4 there are 41 single family-sized parcels in the Lynwood neighborhood off McDowell and 35th Avenue. District 4 also includes a large project site off Central Ave and Columbus Ave.
Similar projects continue with two underutilized parcels off Glendale Ave and 27th Avenue in District 5, a couple of larger sites off Central Ave and Broadway Rd along with three small clusters lots in District 7, and several scattered single-family lots and a larger cluster of parcels along the four corners area, 24th Street and Broadway Rd in District 8.
Councilwoman Debra Stark said she is especially excited about the Community Trust Land Program.
“It looks like it can be a real-it could be a big plus for us,” Stark said.
Vice Mayor Betty Guardado also gave comments on the plans and initiatives.
“We just had a big project that’s going to be built where the Old Key Mart was at and it’s very close to the new housing that’s going to be built. There’s just a lot of things that are happening in that side of District 5 and it’s very exciting to see more housing coming in and all the exciting things that are happening,” said Guardado.
As far as timing for this entire set of plans and projects, Stotler said this,
“We have allocated $500,000 into this program so we will be doing this well into 2021.”