To the editor:
The time for City Hall to have addressed Hunting Towers (now known as Hunting Point) was 18 months ago when folks knew the Virginia Department of Transportation was getting ready to unload the properties. Had City Hall bought Hunting Towers at market rate and run them as a moneymaking venture the way the state did, it could have kept the complex affordable while paying off the bonds with the profits.
But, instead, City Hall let things proceed as a matter of course, so a private, profit-making company that will charge what the free market dictates now owns Hunting Towers.
If keeping housing affordable is a desirable public policy goal, City Hall should have put its money where its mouth is and bought Hunting Towers. Instead, City Hall pretends to care about affordable housing only when it’s giving developers density bonuses and other concessions in exchange for affordable housing promises. It does this instead of protecting the affordable housing we already have and otherwise makes mere empty gestures like sending letters to the owner of Hunting Towers.
Alexandria’s City Hall hates free-market pricing no less than D.C.’s city government. But there’s one difference: Richmond knows this and won’t let Alexandria regulate rents, whereas D.C.’s very first elected city council imposed rent control, retroactive to before Congress had foolishly relinquished congressional governance and let D.C. misgovern itself.
Having lived for 30 years in D.C., which has rent control, I appreciate living in Virginia where the Legislature has flat-out banned it. Because keeping housing affordable should not be something the government puts on the backs of property owners.
- Dino Drudi