FINCASTLE — A new housing report predicts Botetourt County could be facing a housing deficit in the next few years because of increasing job numbers and a lack of affordable homes.
The report, which was presented to the planning commission Monday, continues the housing assessment work started in 2016 when conversations first spurred about future housing needs.
The new report outlines strategies for how the county can diversify its housing and better meet the demands of residents coming to work in its new industries.
Most of the manufacturing jobs in the county have an average salary in the $45,000 range, according to the report. But single-family homes are typically priced more than $350,000 and townhomes are offered in the low $200,000s.
As of 2018, about 40 percent of households in the county had incomes of $100,000 or more, which can support the stock of single-family homes in the area. But the report predicts that because Botetourt County expects to add more than 760 jobs in the next two years, there will be an increased demand for apartments and more moderately priced homes.
“Based on this forecasted demand, Botetourt County is at risk for a housing deficit,” the report reads, “especially given the current lack of rental housing in the county and the disconnect between the price range of homes being built in the county and the incomes required for the purchase of these new homes.”
The report suggested six areas that present opportunities to build higher-density and more affordable homes: Gateway Crossing, Daleville, Botetourt East and the towns of Troutville, Buchanan and Fincastle. Since 2010, Botetourt County has tried to encourage housing developments closer to the towns in its comprehensive plan.
The report goes on to suggest ways that the county could attract developers to build less expensive homes and developments. This includes flexible zoning to allow different residential types, increasing the density of developments to lower the cost of construction, and providing financial incentives to developers.
Preserving Botetourt County’s agricultural aesthetic is a concern for residents with every new development, and the report listed it as a major objective for the county’s planners. To do this, the report suggested focusing dense housing developments in the zones already designated as urban development areas, such as the Daleville Town Center and Gateway Crossing. They also recommended establishing policies for viewshed protection, landscape buffers, conservation easements and design guidelines.
Jerod Myers, a long-range planner with the county, said this new report will be used to help county staff make decisions in the county’s comprehensive plan, which is being updated.