Sample Essay on Housing Development for the City of Middleburg

To: City Manager

From: Intern-Analyst, City of Middleburg

Date: April 16, 2014

SUBJECT:  Housing Development for the City of Middleburg

Middleburg is a city in Virginia State in the United States. It was founded by a Virginia diplomat, John Powell in 1787.He bought the land for Middleburg at a price of 2.50 pounds per acre from Joseph Chinn. The town is located between the port of Alexandria and Winchester. However, in 1863, Middleburg faced two violent attacks in the Gettysburg Campaign of the civil conflict. This report analyzes the housing problems in the Middleburg City.

The city of Middleburg has a major responsibility of ensuring efficient land use for housing of the disadvantaged minority in the community. The city mayor acknowledged any plans to establish a development strategy meant to solve the people’s needs for affordable housing (Allen, 2003). Through the mayor’s back up, the community of Middleburg requested for grants for its development projects. Furthermore, they were given tax credits, which would necessitate the accomplishment of the set projects.

The development plan received a lot of challenge from the citizens as they protested the location of land set for development. The city administration had the duty to explain the effect of the development on education and emergency services. Many of the community members viewed the location of the land as inappropriate (City of Cuyagoga Falls, et al. 2003). Since the developer had already purchased the land, the city mayor had the mandate to convince the people to accept the selected site.

The Supreme Court‘s ruling on March 2003 in City of Cuyahoga Falls v.Buckeye Community Hope Foundation undermined the wishes of many citizens. Many citizens advocated for decent housing for the poor and disabled in the community. Wealthy citizens began to avoid urban places stricken by poverty and low standard housing facilities. Key investors in banking and insurance sector were unwilling to invest in those areas. These sectors were very crucial in the economy of the community. The city administration was responsible for convincing the potential investors about the need to invest their capital in such conditions.

Due to lack of federal housing incentive, the poor families in the city were neglected. The private sector undertook huge profit- taking activities, which ruled out the intention to construct affordable houses for all classes of people. Through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the investors used the opportunity to build houses for the moderate-income workers thus neglecting the poor (City of Cuyagoga Falls, et al. 2003). The nonprofit organizations faced the pressure from the community to build more affordable houses .Despite the pressure, the politicians supported the construction of houses for the rich members in the society such as teachers and fire fighters.

In 1998, the Federal court found the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development having deprived the citizens off their rights. Its policies were claimed to have discriminated the poor and disabled individuals in the community. The public protested against the development of the housing project for the squatters (City of Cuyagoga Falls, et al. 2003). The U.S. housing agency was responsible for formulating polies, which would appear to be fair to all groups in the entire community. Human rights activists advocated that only Fair Housing Act would likely reduce the pressure from the public against the development project.

The development of the City of Cuyagoga Falls faced some pressure from different organs. The positions of legal and political sections greatly affected the development of the city. These conflicting groups exerted pressure on policies that favored their interests (Allen, 2003). The city council suggested the trading of the land, which had raised a lot of controversy among the citizens. This move was meant to benefit the few council members at the cost of the majority poor families in the city. The trading of the land would be a move to violate the rights of the disadvantaged group. This is because the building of affordable housing would be a dream

Some members of the council wrote to the city director seeking for any possibility to reject the selected site. They also sort to get clarification on whether the citizens could conduct a referendum to rule out the decision of the council. Immediately after the city council rejected the site plan, the citizens mobilized for a referendum to nullify the decision (City Of Cuyagoga Falls, et al. 2003). The acknowledgement was based on technical analysis of the site and the city council had basis to reject it. The citizens who protested the decision had little knowledge about the site. Moreover, the y had never seen the site or read the analysis of the zoning code of the site.

The federal court examined the rights of the citizens to conduct referendum on issues of common interest. The judge acknowledged the referendum in presence of many angry voters in the courtroom. He held that the electorate should be granted the permission to make decisions on matters of peoples interests (Barno, 2003). The council filed a reconsideration motion in the Appeals court of the United States. The motion received massive back up from interested groups who acted as friends of the court.

Affordable houses could be built if the council provided extra funds to cater for the grants lost due to the delays of the project. The delays in the implementation of the plan caused rise in the cost of construction. The commencement of the project required some approvals through the power of attorney. The council advocated for changes in the tax credit distribution in order to prevent the extent of the effects of the development delays.

The court declared that the city council was not liable for discriminating the citizens based on their economic status. Due to the consensus to stop the qualification of the vote, the referendum was viewed as invalid and unofficial (Barno, 2003). A nonprofit developer was accredited the go ahead to undertake the construction of affordable housing for the poor and disabled individuals. The greatest impact on the plan is that many families were able to live in affordable apartments. Thanks to the city council for the endeavor to undertake the development process.

The final discussion is the measures that need to be taken in order to facilitate fair housing development (Allen, 2003). The city actions to allow the development were an act intended to discriminate citizens based on race and family background. The council’s back up of the site implementation was a representation of a Fair Housing Act. The Federal’s Court decision to invalidate the referendum reduced the liabilities for the delay of the project. This decision was a major step towards the facilitation of fair housing development.

A nonprofit corporation was contracted by the council to develop affordable housing facilities. The public conducted a referendum to stop the development urging that the site selected was not appropriate. The development delayed until the voters approved the plan. The construction commenced upon approval by the voters (Barno, 2003). The developer was given building permits and upon completion of the plan, there were considerate number of affordable housing in the city.

During the city council meetings, citizens haired their concerns about the development of the project as they argued that the plan would lead to high crime rates as well as drug trafficking. However, since the project was consistent with all requirements, the council approved the plan. The implementation of this project was a crucial step in the attainment of fair housing facilities in the city. The mayor of the council mobilized other members to push for the development of the project. They viewed it as a way of providing necessities to the people at affordable charges for every citizen.

Before the presentation of the case in court, the council lawyers cited the impact of the decision of the judge on the Fair Housing Act. Since the Supreme Court was viewed to be conservative, it was expected to stop the project based on violation of the Act. The evidence of direct discrimination on the minority groups would prove the effects of the provisions of the project (Allen, 2003). The citizens urged that the council’s use of referendum was act of negligence of the rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution.

Justice Antonin opinions send a signal of the impossibility of building affordable housing facilities in the city. The advocates of the fair housing initiative had to draft a referendum to push the council to adopt measures that would provide fair housing in the city. Despite the struggle of affordable housing sponsors to fund the project, the citizens who were against the site of the plan organized a referendum. The referendum was politicized until the motive of its provisions became unclear. At last, the council won in the struggle and affordable housing was provided.

 

References

Allen, M., (2003). No Shelter in the Storm: The Supreme Court Hands NIMBY Forces a Powerful Weapon http://www.shelterforce.com/online/issues/131/shelterinstorm.html

Barno, V. G., (2003).The Fight Over Low-Income Housing: A First-Person Account By The Cuyahoga Falls Nonprofit Developer At The Eye Of The Storm. http://www.shelterforce.com/online/issues/131/cuyahogavbuckeye.html

City Of Cuyagoga Falls, Ohio, et al. v. Buckeye Community Hope Foundation et al., 538 U.S. 188, (2003). http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/538/188/case.html

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Agency : U.S.) (2012). Canalway quest: Relationships with water quest : Ohio & Erie Canalway, Summit County Section, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brandywine Falls. Brecksville, Ohio: Cuyahoga Valley National Park.