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Mayoral candidates on the issues

Is affordable housing an issue in Hagerstown and how would you address it?

Is affordable housing an issue in Hagerstown and how would you address it?

April 22, 2005

Breichner: I believe that the primary goal for the next administration must be to increase homeownership, encourage community development and promote access to decent, affordable housing. This can be accomplished by renovating existing residential properties as well as by constructing new market rate housing.

To encourage bringing existing residences up to modern standards in specifically designed redevelopment zones, property tax assessments should be frozen for up to a 10-year period depending on the amount of investment expended on the improvements.

In addition, existing regulations and building codes should be reviewed to remove unnecessary barriers, streamline the permit and inspection process and refund fees for successfully completed improvements on properties within the zone.

The recently created Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Cooperation was designed to provide new, affordable market rate housing units in an effort to restore residential neighborhoods within our center city. Our city government must encourage and assist in this effort.

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Trump: All cities face the dilemma. Hagerstown is no exception. In Hagerstown, affordable housing unit pricing is in the $80,000 to $125,000 range. There is little available in this price range that would be considered "nice."

In City-targeted redevelopment areas, using bonding authority, in coordination with local builders and local banks; the City may be able to purchase distressed properties and convert the properties for resale into nice and affordable housing units. There are several precedents for this type of effort and I will push for the creation of a public/private partnership to do this.

In new development areas, I will work with developers and builders to have percentages of newly developed housing units reserved for affordable housing - again there is precedent for this type of effort. Generally, it takes political will and vision to accomplish this goal. The "Vision for Hagerstown Team" and I have that will and vision.

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