County Board May Designate Pike as ‘Revitalization’ District – ArlNow.com – November 21, 2014
Arlington, Va.—Some stakeholders along Columbia Pike are asking the Arlington County Board to name the area a “revitalization district” — a designation normally reserved for blighted and impoverished communities — in order to spur affordable housing development.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan has yet to issue a recommendation on the item, which the Board is set to discuss at its meeting this Saturday.
According to Virginia Code, an area can be deemed a revitalization district if:
- “the area is blighted, deteriorated, deteriorating…”
- “the industrial, commercial or other economic development of such area will benefit the city or county but such area lacks the housing needed to induce manufacturing, industrial, commercial, governmental … enterprises or undertakings to locate or remain in such area,” or
- “private enterprise and investment are not reasonably expected, without assistance, to produce the construction or rehabilitation of decent, safe and sanitary housing and supporting facilities that will meet the needs of low and moderate income persons and families.”
Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Executive Director Takis Karantonis said the Pike isn’t blighted, but he believes it may qualify for revitalization district standards because “when a community lacks the diversity of housing that would support certain types of economic development, then it still can qualify for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) points.”
Those points are crucial for affordable housing on the Pike, as LIHTC money funds “9 out of every 10 of America’s apartments for low-income families,” according to the Housing Advisory Group. In Virginia, those funds are distributed by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, which gives projects 30 points toward its total qualification score simply for being located in a revitalization district.
“In the past, these points weren’t really critical to obtain tax credits,” Karantonis told ARLnow.com. “Now they are critical. If you don’t have a project in a revitalization district, you can really forget about LIHTC support.”