"How can the county create a more regionally balanced county housing market?"
Client: Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development
Team Members: Rob Krupicka, Charles Buki, Karen Beck Pooley, PhD
Services: Housing Analysis, Visioning, Meeting Facilitation, Report Creation
Throughout most of 2014 and into early 2015, czb worked with Washtenaw County officials to develop a countywide affordable housing strategy. The complex undertaking meant analyzing the county's many, highly varied submarkets (from booming Ann Arbor to struggling Ypsilanti), the University of Michigan's and EMU's impact on those markets, and the fall-out of the Great Recession. The result was an unprecedented level of cooperative work among more than a dozen jurisdictions setting shared policy and production goals for housing across the county.
czb's analysis showed that central-eastern Washtenaw County has two very distinct housing markets, each with different needs and opportunities: one fundamentally strong market, anchored by the City of Ann Arbor and one, including the City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, that was in far greater distress.
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners voted 8-0 to approve the final plan.
County commissioners are re-thinking the distribution of new housing units throughout the county, including the possible addition of affordable housing units on a 13.5-acre site of land in southeast Ann Arbor, and the addition of higher-end apartment complexes in the City of Ypsilanti.
After sorting through the data on Ann Arbor's market, including its active student rental market, czb advised that Ann Arbor should focus on the preservation and production of affordable housing for non-student renters through a variety of strategies. Meanwhile, czb advised that Ypsilanti, which had become the de facto affordable housing solution for Ann Arbor, ought to grow its regional share of working and college-educated households through specific regulatory updates, investments in quality-of-life amenities and transportation options, and through restricting the supply of additional affordable housing units in Ypsilanti.