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Commission to look at price of housing in Jefferson County

August 08, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - With the cost of the average home in Jefferson County exceeding $200,000, county officials have decided to take a closer look at affordable housing in the area.

The Jefferson County Commission has been hearing concerns recently regarding affordable housing in the county and Commissioner Rusty Morgan said Thursday night he thinks the issue needs to be fully examined.

With homes selling for about an average of $200,000, the prices are "out of scale" for people who typically have purchased homes in the county, Morgan said.

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In Jefferson County, the average home sale price increased from $184,745 to $224,555 between last year and this year, about a 21.5 percent increase, according to the Real Estate Trend Indicator released by Metro Regional Information Systems.

At Morgan's request, the commissioners agreed to allow Morgan to put together a committee to study the issue.

Morgan said there may be some programs the county could be overlooking that could be used to implement affordable housing initiatives.

One possibility could be federal Housing and Urban Development funds, Morgan said.

Commissioner Al Hooper echoed Morgan's concern, saying housing is "not getting any less expensive."

Commissioner James G. Knode was the only commissioner to vote against setting up the committee. Knode said if the commissioners want to reduce the cost of housing, they should eliminate zoning.

There has been concern about affordable housing, particularly in light of housing impact fees the commissioners are considering.

Some people fear the impact fees will make it difficult for working families to buy homes and create a climate of "have and have-nots."

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