Housing Master Plan & Regional Housing Initiative
On December 14, 2013 the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the City’s first Housing Master Plan (HMP). The result of a multi-year public planning process, the HMP guides preservation and enhancement of affordable housing opportunities and community diversity through 2025 with the following principles:
- Facilitate a variety of housing options for households of all incomes.
- Expand housing choice for people of all ages and abilities.
- Partner with nonprofits, ARHA, and private developers to leverage City resources.
- Prioritize the creation and preservation of affordable housing in transit-oriented, amenity-rich areas and in large-scale (re)developments, in particular when existing market affordable housing is being impacted.
- Promote the integration of affordable housing to foster successful and vibrant mixed-income communities.
- Recognize the critical role affordable housing plays in the City's economic sustainability.
HMP Goal, Results, and Planning Process
HMP Goal, Activities, and Progress
The HMP established a goal of creating "new affordability" in 2,000 units through 2025. New affordability is gained through the construction of new committed affordable housing and the preservation and improvement of existing housing resources to enhance affordability, accessibility, safety, health, and energy efficiency. The following activities are counted towards the HMP goal:
- construction of new committed affordable rental and homeownership units, including committed affordable units resulting from the conversion of obsolete commercial buildings into housing (track our progress)
- preservation of existing committed affordable units (track our progress)
- conversion of existing market-rate housing into committed affordable housing (track our progress)
- improvements to existing low- to moderate-income homeownership units through the Home Rehabilitation Loan Program and Rebuilding Together DC-Alexandria projects (track our progress)
- improvements to existing low-income rental units through the Rental Accessibility Modification Program (track our progress)
- support to first-time homebuyers in the form of downpayment and closing-cost assistance (track our progress)
NEW! Progress towards the HMP goal is tracked through the Quarterly Progress Report (updated March 2023) and the Housing Opportunities Dashboard (updated March 2023).
- Visit our Affordable Housing page to learn about ongoing and recently approved and completed projects.
- Visit our Publications page to learn about the city's Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Set-Aside, Homeownership, Fair Housing Testing, and other programs.
HMP Implementation Tools
A number of implementation tools are identified for further study and consideration in the HMP. Since 2014, the City Council has approved the following tools:
- an amendment to grandfather parking requirements for affordable housing projects that undergo a substantial renovation;
- an increase in the level of predevelopment funding provided to facilitate affordable housing through secured, repayable loans;
- a reduction in parking requirements for new affordable housing projects;
- an increase from 20% to 30% in bonus density for affordable housing;
- an amendment to create the Residential Multifamily Zone (RMF) to promote the creation and preservation of deeply affordable housing;
- an update to the Housing Contributions Policy to address cases pursuing additional density, senior housing projects, and commercial to residential building conversions;
- an amendment to permit Accessory Dwelling Units; and
- an amendment to permit Co-Living Units.
HMP Planning Process
The HMP planning process was designed to ensure participation by stakeholders through: a series of 15 public meetings; a bus tour of the City's existing affordable housing stock; and an allocation exercise which gave stakeholders the opportunity to consider future housing needs and locations.
The HMP Advisory Group was composed of the City's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) plus an additional five appointees, including both public sector and private sector representatives. This group was charged with providing feedback on data presented and developed goals and objectives to guide the creation of the implementation plan.
On November 30, 2012, the City of Alexandria released its draft Housing Master Plan and the draft Housing Master Plan At a Glance for public review and comment. Two town hall meetings were held to receive questions and comments on the Plan. The first meeting was held on January 24, 2013 at Samuel Tucker Elementary School. A second Town Hall meeting was held on February 11, 2013 at Jefferson-Houston Elementary School. Following a 90-day comment period, the Planning commission and City Council held work sessions on the draft plan. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Revised Draft Housing Master Plan on December 3, 2013.
Regional Housing Initiative
In March 2020, City Council endorsed Resolution R27-2019, a Regional Housing Initiative unanimously adopted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board to establish housing production targets to address the region’s growing housing needs. The resolution includes aspirational targets allocated across its member jurisdictions, including the City of Alexandria. The City's allocation is equivalent to 3,000 units (above the City's development projections) by 2030, with a goal that 75% of these new units, or 2,250, be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Progress towards this target is reported on the Housing Opportunities Dashboard.