At the Sept. 17 board of commissioners’ meeting, we agreed to contract with a consultant for a Cherokee County housing study. It’s not a big action, but it could be important.
We need a better understanding of the housing currently available in our county, and how that supply compares with demand. We hope to identify current gaps, and create strategies to help meet future housing needs.
While the housing market primarily should respond to demand, and usually does, we may learn more about appropriate ways to shape the development of housing, to keep Cherokee a great place to live.
What are the issues?
Is our housing market too focused on a “typical” type of housing, or is it meeting a full range of needs?
This has to be part of the mix. Some people don’t want to own homes, and that trend is growing. Some folks, who would like to own homes, just aren’t in a financial position to do so. The downside for the community is that renters sometimes don’t engage in their community to the same degree as homeowners. How much rental housing is needed and is appropriate?
Turnover tends to be high in apartments, and the residents tend to be less committed to their communities than those living in single-family homes. However, apartments are the most convenient form of housing. Some people use them for a short time, while others choose or need to live in apartments long-term. They potentially provide an affordable option. How many apartments do we need, what type, and where?
In Cherokee County, we limit density in many areas as a means of restraining residential growth, and to preserve a semi-rural and small-town lifestyle. But, that drives up the cost, and some areas are appropriate for higher-density housing. How should we manage density to best achieve our housing and other goals?
This is a big one. We need some amount of very low-cost housing, possibly subsidized, especially for seniors living on fixed incomes. And, we need housing that’s affordable for moderate-income folks, like police officers, firefighters, teachers and factory workers, all of whom are essential to our county. How much and what types of affordable housing do we need, and where? How do we ensure good quality, and that it stays that way over the long run?
We’re searching for these answers. This study won’t provide them all, but I believe it will help. If you have suggestions about this, or anything else, please email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I truly want to hear from you.
– Harry Johnston, chairman of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.