May 3, 2007
Albemarle County has changed what it is asking of developers when they build houses in the County. But some worry the costs will be felt by the home buyers.
"Builders and developers are willing to pay their fair share, but what is that fair share?" asked Jay Willer, Executive Vice-President of the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association.
Under the current system, the question of "How much?" is negotiated on a case by case basis. With the decision by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, there will be one set rate of $17,000.
"Growth costs money so we think it is very appropriate that the new people moving in to the town pay for the additional cost of their growth," said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Ken Boyd.
"To have a process that constantly says, the developers should pay for the impacts of growth, we think is fundamentally not an appropriate approach," said Willer.
The development community says they already work with the County to help manage growth by building in the growth areas and by providing affordable housing units. They say the extra $17,000 will only get a home buyer less for more.
"It's cost a to the builder for building the house just like roofing costs or grading the lot. It will get figured in to the marketable price of the house," Willer said.
With the possibility of sky rocketing prices, Ken Boyd says the final decision is a delicate balance between a monetary gain and a change that could alter the face of Albemarle County.
"We don't want to get it to a point that we don't have affordable prices even for people making 100 percent of the median income," he said.
While the rate has been set, some other questions remained unanswered. The Board has yet to determine if they will give credit to builders for things like the donation of park and school sites and affordable housing units. Those determinations should be made at their next meeting, Wednesday, May 9 at 1:30 p.m.