Affordable Housing Preservation
March 21, 2023
PLUS Record Number:
Countywide Policy Plan Amendment
In April, 2021, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Board) approved the recommendations developed by the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force (Task Force) whose purpose was to develop a comprehensive affordable rental housing preservation strategy. The strategy recommitted to the principle of no net loss of market affordable housing units in the County in that it supports a high quality of life, employment opportunities, housing, amenities and services for all people and throughout the County. The Preservation Strategy focuses on the county’s multifamily (four or more units) rental stock of housing that serves households whose annual income is 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below and defines the two sources housing:
- Market affordable housing - Considered to be affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) or below – without enforceable rent or income restrictions.
- Committed affordable housing - Properties or units with rents and incomes served that are restricted by means such as a deed restriction, zoning requirements, LIHTC regulations, or land use restriction agreements.
Affordable properties in the County are at risk of losing affordability through redevelopment into more expensive residential and renovations that result in higher rents that outpace the rise in household incomes. The Task Force Recommendations includes direction to amend the Comprehensive Plan to address situations where existing affordable properties are redeveloping.
Affordable Housing Preservation Amendment
The adopted Comprehensive Plan Amendment includes a sixth objective to the Housing Element of the Policy Plan to preserve existing affordable units, and a second Appendix to provide additional guidance.
The goal of the amendment is to seek one-for-one replacement of existing affordable units in locations where redevelopment is to occur. The amendment defines the types of affordable housing that are to be preserved and directs staff to assess each zoning application and Plan amendment to determine if any affordable units may be affected.
Additional density above Comprehensive Plan guidance may be granted where appropriate, as well as potential gap financing provided by the County to assist in preservation. The amendment takes a flexible approach to the incentives; each potential redevelopment will be assessed individually to determine how they may be applied.