VOICES: Our communities should ‘build with care and thoughtfulness’

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation.

New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

ExploreHow 3 new housing developments could impact Clark-Shawnee schools

In Ideas & Voices this month, we’ll be exploring several of these developments and the community dynamics involved in each one. Last week, we looked at the Anthony Wayne building redevelopment in Hamilton. This week, hear from different perspectives on new housing developments planned for Springfield.

Finally, at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 24, we will convene a virtual panel of experts to discuss this boom in local development, how affordable housing options created today will shape our region in the years to come, and the concerns some community members have about these plans. You can watch the Community Conversation on the Dayton Daily News Facebook page.

Springfield and the entire country needs more housing, fast

Rachel E. Wilson, Ph.D., Wittenberg University Chair & Associate Professor for the Department of Business & Economics:

‘Our city suffers from the legacy of redlining where areas with significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities were deemed too ‘hazardous’ to invest in and denied access to loans. ThinkTV’s recently released documentary, Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Dayton and Springfield, chronicles this consequential part of our community’s history. Today we see this heritage reflected in the gross inequities between sections of town with regards to housing values, rent burdened families, vacant homes, back taxes, and code violations. Hopefully, the new environmental court focused on housing will be a vehicle to hold slumlords accountable more quickly and promote investment in sections of town long neglected. Previously, these slum lords counted on the city being too overwhelmed by vacant homes and backlogs of code violations to do significant enforcement. Such a court streamlines the process by quickly requiring owners to either remedy blighted homes or sell them to others who will and thus spur revitalization.’

Read full column.

We need to be smart, responsible with our growth

Melissa Baker, Springfield Township resident:

‘These developments present a dramatic and unfair tax burden on the people in Springfield Township and the Clark-Shawnee School District. Springfield Township residents are victims of taxation without representation. By the City’s annexation of these lands, they are forcing an increase in Springfield Township residents’ taxes. But because we don’t live in the city, Township residents are not able to vote for or against the elected officials making these decisions.

I implore our leaders to re-examine the impact of these annexations and developments before approving these subdivisions. I believe this is poorly managed growth, resulting in urban sprawl and the over-taxing of services and utilities. We should encourage new people to bring their skills and talents to our community, but we must be smart about it. As a community we should have a say in what type of growth works, where to encourage it, and the impact on those surrounding it.’

Read full column.

Plan provides multi-year roadmap for neighborhood solutions

Bryan Heck, Springfield City Manager:

‘While interest in new development continues to grow, there is still more work to do, and that’s where the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) fulfills its role as a key community partner in this arena.

Recently, the GOPC released “Quality Housing for All: A Four-Year Strategic Plan for Springfield,” a multi-year strategic plan for housing in our community. This strategic plan gives us a roadmap for addressing the housing opportunities in Springfield using a four-pronged strategy that seeks to: protect vulnerable residents; enhance existing housing stock; produce additional affordable housing; and, reduce barriers to housing development and renovation.

In the short term, the strategic plan outlines specific initiatives, some of which we’ve already enacted. The establishment of a vacant property registry and receivership program, for example, have already been launched. This program facilitates accountability for property owners who have fallen behind in code compliance. Other short-term initiatives that the GOPC recommended include: an increase in health and code compliance and establishment of a rental license program; implementation of a risk-tolerant loan fund for developers, builders and housing rehabilitation enterprises; and, more output from non-profit developers.’

Read full column.

Housing affordability in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation. New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

» Springfield and the entire country needs more housing, fast

» We need to be smart, responsible with our growth

» Plan provides multi-year roadmap for neighborhood solutions

» Displaced Anthony Wayne residents asking for a fair shot

» New hotel in downtown Hamilton will make the city proud

» Cost of redevelopment should not include displacing residents

» Regional approach required to tackle affordable housing

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