A solution to density dilemma

A solution to density dilemma

To the editor: 

Two points. First, whether it’s with more people, cars, buildings or all the above, there’s a limit to how many of each that can be placed into the 15 square miles constituting Alexandria. 

Second, density does not create affordability, especially at a time when everything is evermore costly, notably the cost of money and building materials 

Yet much can be lost, charm especially, to current Alexandrians if building heights are increased and if single family neighborhoods – which constitute roughly 20% of Alexandria are destroyed to allow more housing regardless for whom the accommodations are intended. 

It’s hard to attribute a value to charm but there is a perverse relationship between our density and our taxes: as the former increases so does the latter, thereby making the cost of living more expensive for everyone, including rents for affordable housing. 

But there is a compromise where more affordable housing can be created without increasing building heights or by destroying neighborhoods of single family homes with duplexes and triplexes. 

The compromise requires the city to provide Can’t Say No enticements to owners of office buildings to convert their empty offices into affordable housing. 

Yes, this trade-off will increase human and vehicular density and taxes, but at least will not lead to higher buildings or to the impetus to build multifamily housing in single family neighborhoods. 

To enable this trade off, Density Champions need to help beleaguered owners of near-empty office buildings convert them into housing. 

-Jimm Roberts, Alexandria