Last night Arthur Sargent proposed an increase in the affordability requirement from 10% to 50%.
If you were to get all your information regarding the MRAROD ordinance from the mayor’s FB page, you would think it’s all about creating affordable housing. Thedesperate need in our city and our region for it. Something must be done! And here it is!
And had you then attended last night’s Council meeting and heard Councillor-at-Large Arthur Sargent propose raising the MRAROD’s minimum percentage of affordable housing units from 10% to 50%, you would have expected the mayor to cheer. You might have expected the passionate advocates of affordable housing, in the audience and on the Council, to raise Artie on their shoulders and parade him through town like a conquering hero.
You would have been surprised to find this did not happen.
Neither the mayor nor the passionate advocates of affordable housing on the Council supported such a proposal — nor Artie’s subsequent more modest offer of 20%.
They argued economic feasibility. A reasonable argument. Though North Shore CDC’s Mickey Northcutt did reiterate to the Council that the planned redevelopment of St. James and Immaculate Conception aimed to be 100% affordable, or very nearly, with income levels well below that specified in our ordinance (60%, 30% as opposed to 80% AMI) . . .
Now the city will be taking on the issue of affordability more broadly in the coming months, and 10% — the standard minimum for development — could be raised. Modestly.
Is 10% better than nothing? Of course. Should we do what we can? Yup. Should we take practical steps forward? You bet.
But let’s inject a little reality into the advocacy.
From Justin Whittier’s President of our Association Facebook page