Increasing Housing Affordability in Blacksburg

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In August 2021, The Town of Blacksburg completed a 3 part online public engagement process regarding housing affordability to better understand 1) citizen priorities and concerns, 2) which housing types and densities are acceptable to the community, and 3) what strategies the community would like the Town to pursue, and 4) what specific concerns exist about the strategies proposed.

The State of Housing in Blacksburg:

Housing prices and availability have become hot topics in Blacksburg. The Town of Blacksburg has a housing shortage, particularly housing that is affordable to households earning less than the Town's median family income of $89,000.

  • Please check out this video to learn more about Blacksburg's housing affordability challenges (10 minutes).
  • The NRV Regional Commission presents the data from NRV Regional Housing to the Town Council on March 2nd, 2021 in this video(45 minutes). You can also access the link to the full report on the right-hand side of this project page.

Housing Strategies:

The Town is taking a close look at a variety of strategies to help address this important community issue. These strategies include:

  • Development incentives to encourage the production of more affordable housing,
  • Mechanisms to limit student encroachment into single-family neighborhoods,
  • Strategies to provide more homes affordable to first-time homebuyers and non-student renters, and
  • Mechanisms to fund the community's preferred strategies.

To see the results from the most recent survey on preferred housing strategies, click here or on the right side of this page under documents. If you are interested in learning more about the potential housing strategies explored in the survey, please click on the video at the top of this page. You can use the timeline feature in the video to explore the sections that are of greatest interest to you.

Community Input:

  • Reports with results from our first, second, and third phases of public engagement are provided in the documents section on the right-hand side of this page.

Next Steps:

Here are a few overarching takeaways and next steps.

01 — Build Trust and Transparency.

The recent survey revealed a lack of trust. This was expressed in the many comments and the prioritization of strategies. Knowing that transparency is a community priority, the Town will continue to strengthen our engagement as we work to implement internal reforms and strengthen our partnerships to improve housing affordability in Blacksburg. We will continue to reach out with information to help expand community understanding of and create opportunities for engagement on each housing strategy.

02 — Revise Zoning and Development Review Process to Incentivize the Development of Missing Middle Housing Types.

Using the priorities and concerns expressed through both surveys, staff will determine how the Town can improve the development review process, most effectively approach revisions to the zoning ordinance to better allow for the development of missing middle housing types, and align development incentives accordingly.

03 — Implement the Strongly Preferred Housing Strategies

The recent survey revealed stronger support for allowing detached accessory apartments, establishing a Community Land Trust, using rental restrictions as part of new developments, and improving partnerships with Virginia Tech, Montgomery County, and the development community. The Town will prioritize staff time towards the implementation of these strategies.

We will continue to update this page as we move forward with the implementation of preferred strategies.

If you are interested in staying engaged on this topic please make sure you provide your email in the "Stay Informed" box and consider subscribing to Citizens Alerts on the Town's website. This is just the beginning! Thanks for your interest and for sharing your thoughts.

In August 2021, The Town of Blacksburg completed a 3 part online public engagement process regarding housing affordability to better understand 1) citizen priorities and concerns, 2) which housing types and densities are acceptable to the community, and 3) what strategies the community would like the Town to pursue, and 4) what specific concerns exist about the strategies proposed.

The State of Housing in Blacksburg:

Housing prices and availability have become hot topics in Blacksburg. The Town of Blacksburg has a housing shortage, particularly housing that is affordable to households earning less than the Town's median family income of $89,000.

  • Please check out this video to learn more about Blacksburg's housing affordability challenges (10 minutes).
  • The NRV Regional Commission presents the data from NRV Regional Housing to the Town Council on March 2nd, 2021 in this video(45 minutes). You can also access the link to the full report on the right-hand side of this project page.

Housing Strategies:

The Town is taking a close look at a variety of strategies to help address this important community issue. These strategies include:

  • Development incentives to encourage the production of more affordable housing,
  • Mechanisms to limit student encroachment into single-family neighborhoods,
  • Strategies to provide more homes affordable to first-time homebuyers and non-student renters, and
  • Mechanisms to fund the community's preferred strategies.

To see the results from the most recent survey on preferred housing strategies, click here or on the right side of this page under documents. If you are interested in learning more about the potential housing strategies explored in the survey, please click on the video at the top of this page. You can use the timeline feature in the video to explore the sections that are of greatest interest to you.

Community Input:

  • Reports with results from our first, second, and third phases of public engagement are provided in the documents section on the right-hand side of this page.

Next Steps:

Here are a few overarching takeaways and next steps.

01 — Build Trust and Transparency.

The recent survey revealed a lack of trust. This was expressed in the many comments and the prioritization of strategies. Knowing that transparency is a community priority, the Town will continue to strengthen our engagement as we work to implement internal reforms and strengthen our partnerships to improve housing affordability in Blacksburg. We will continue to reach out with information to help expand community understanding of and create opportunities for engagement on each housing strategy.

02 — Revise Zoning and Development Review Process to Incentivize the Development of Missing Middle Housing Types.

Using the priorities and concerns expressed through both surveys, staff will determine how the Town can improve the development review process, most effectively approach revisions to the zoning ordinance to better allow for the development of missing middle housing types, and align development incentives accordingly.

03 — Implement the Strongly Preferred Housing Strategies

The recent survey revealed stronger support for allowing detached accessory apartments, establishing a Community Land Trust, using rental restrictions as part of new developments, and improving partnerships with Virginia Tech, Montgomery County, and the development community. The Town will prioritize staff time towards the implementation of these strategies.

We will continue to update this page as we move forward with the implementation of preferred strategies.

If you are interested in staying engaged on this topic please make sure you provide your email in the "Stay Informed" box and consider subscribing to Citizens Alerts on the Town's website. This is just the beginning! Thanks for your interest and for sharing your thoughts.

Page last updated: 17 August 2021, 14:17