Growth Fuels Housing Need Fox Valley Gets Early Warning That Jobs Boon Will Bring Need for Affordable Housing
Hahn, Brad, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Brad Hahn Daily Herald Staff Writer
Larry Keller spends much of his time these days listening to furious residents vent about plans to build upscale housing at the border of his small town.
So it is understandable that the West Dundee village president chuckles a bit when asked about adding "affordable" or low-income homes to his community's mix.
Homeowners in the region balk at any type of new housing because they believe it adds traffic, drains services and crowds schools, he explains. Mention plans to build affordable "starter" homes, and the reaction can turn from hesitant to downright hostile.
"Let's face it, the unfortunate part is affordable housing is not equated in a positive fashion," he said. "All too often it is equated with more problems than its fair share, and I'm not sure that's an accurate portrayal."
Tremendous population growth is expected to continue well into the next 20 years in the Fox Valley, prompting the usual questions of how quickly to develop and to best meet each community's needs.
A regional planning commission two years ago brought together eleven cities and villages from Kane and McHenry counties, asking them to collectively prepare for the impact of a development boon.
In a study slated to be presented publicly next week, the group formed by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission projects job growth will be heaviest in retail and service fields.
More than 70 percent of positions in those industries can be assumed to be in a lower-income category, the report continues. Examples include single-income households relying on a $32,000 accountant's salary, or $24,000 in annual pay from a secretary's job.
To accommodate the needs of all residents, the communities must collectively offer all types of housing, including more apartments, town houses and single family "starter" homes, the study concludes. …