Who are on the committee?
Maybe I missed, I did not see any Asian Americans on this committee, nor Latino Americans.
Some comments on the challenges raised in the report
CHALLENGE #1: LAND USE, PLANNING, AND ZONING
Housing supply has not kept up with housing demand, particularly over the last decade and given recent employment growth. This imbalance between supply and demand is leading to rising affordability issues.
Wu Comment: what is the goal (balance point) for the demand and need? If we don’t define it, we will see this argument for life.
CHALLENGE #2: LAND USE, PLANNING, AND ZONING
A lack of housing diversity throughout Howard County inhibits racial and socioeconomic integration. Historically disadvantaged populations, lower-income households and households experiencing poverty find that most of the housing options affordable to them are concentrated in only a few locations. This challenge is especially problematic considering that most remaining land and school capacity is in the Rural West, where current zoning regulations largely prohibit affordable housing development of any kind.
Wu Comment: But they are keeping building low-income houses in a few buildings in the Columbia downtown area, instead those should be spreat out. The newly proposed policies keep the same old, ill-practice.
CHALLENGE #3: LAND USE, PLANNING, AND ZONING
New development today is less diverse than the housing inventory overall. In recent years, new development has shifted in favor of rental apartments, and—at the same time—the for-sale market has largely stopped building smaller, attainably priced for-sale housing.
Wu Comment: there are only limited lands available and only 7% land left for development in Howard County.
CHALLENGE #4: PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
Howard County lacks a cohesive strategy for prioritization, policy/program design, and resource allocation.
Wu Comment: The policies are driven by developers such that loophole and exception everywhere.
CHALLENGE #5: PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
Existing resources are not sufficient to meet current and future capacity and demands (e.g., schools, transportation, etc.) while also dedicating funds to housing goals.
Wu Comment: That is the reason we need slow down new development to make sure the current school capacity and infrastructure to catch up first. Keeping building more and we will never catch up.
CHALLENGE #6: PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
It continues to be difficult to supply housing for diverse populations, with significant needs going forward.
Wu Comment: this is a very vague statement and it be applied anywhere they see fit.
CHALLENGE #7: PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruption is exposing and exacerbating housing insecurity.
Wu Comment: This is true.
- Housing security actually relates to job security. Sometimes policy with good intention can lead to larger harm. Remembering the 2008 finance crisis which crippled many many families, was built on the assumption: everyone should buy a house.
- Another is a sound personal financial management. How to spend the money we have wisely is not an easy task.
CHALLENGE #8: PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
A large portion of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households in Howard County is older and at risk of deterioration and/or redevelopment going forward.
- Yes. We need revitalization on those houses with policy, monetary and community support.
- Look at the affordable housing debate in 2016, a proposal by Council Member, now state delegate Jen Terrasa where the proposal required 15% affordable units in all new housing development. It did not pass the county council. Here is the article I wrote at that time: https://chaowu.org/2016/07/27/columbias-downtown-and-affordable-housing/
- Another event showed developers’ influence during the last APFO update vote. The developers were sitting in the George Howard Building. In that night past 12 o’clock, some of them shouted on social media: your vote was illegitimate because of some procedure violation. I could not recall much detail for that night now unfortunately.
CHALLENGE #9: HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (“APFO”) is placing significant limitations on the amount of housing that can be built, and it is
potentially accelerating those capacity issues by limiting the ability to increase the tax base.
Wu Comment: New housing development could not pay for itself, neither school funding nor other infrastructure cost. Here is my calculation for your reference: https://chaowu.org/2021/05/10/some-math-about-hcpss-funding-needs-and-gaps/