Manassas Journal Messenger | County faces deadline for federal housing funds

The county’s approval of a federal housing report ran into some opposition last week, so the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will take up the report again today – five days before it is due.

Prince William County must submit the report by Sunday to be eligible for nearly $4 million in federal housing funds.

Both Manassas and Manassas Park depend on the county to administer their federal housing money, so they have $227,000 and $66,000 respectively riding on the reports’ approval by supervisors.

Supervisors had scheduled approval for last week, but when several board members raised objections, it was postponed until today.

“I really wasn’t very happy that we get this big book and we’re expected to vote on it then and there, and our citizens have not had input,” said Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries.

Coming in at more than 500 pages and weighing nearly 5 pounds, the report outlines the county’s five-year spending plan for its allocation from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

There was not enough public input on the report, Caddigan said, adding her displeasure that her district seemed targeted for federally funded affordable housing.

“I have a district that has a lot of affordable [housing] and we don’t need anymore,” Caddigan said. “They need to spread it out and not bring it to one particular area.”

Caddigan said she was especially worried about the report’s suggestion for an ordinance that could allow builders to construct a higher density of homes as long as they are “affordable.”

Supervisor Hilda M. Barg, D-Woodbridge, agreed that affordable housing should not be solely concentrated in the eastern part of the county.

Supervisors Corey A. Stewart, R-Occoquan, and W.S. “Wally” Covington III, R-Brentsville, also raised concerns about some of the housing programs described in the report.

In the face of opposition, board chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, postponed approval of the report until today instead of possibly jeopardizing the county’s federal housing funds.

Since last week, Julián Bermudez, director of the county’s office of housing and community development, has met individually with supervisors who had concerns about the report.

The supervisors meeting will be held at 2 p.m. today at the McCoart Administration Center.

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