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  • Terry Rumsey

Excuse #4: What about affordable housing?


Above: $1 million+ house where the Centennial Woods once stood.

Why Won't They Let Us Vote on Open Space Funding

This is the fourth in a series of posts about what Media Borough Council members have said about why Media residents shouldn’t be able to vote in November on whether or not to invest in saving our last remaining green open space in the borough.


KMG will also provide our responses to Council members’ arguments for denying voters a voice in whether or not our borough should invest in acquiring and saving open space.


Note: KMG reviewed video footage from the April 7, 2022 Borough Council Workshop meeting, when over 30 minutes was devoted to this topic, to ensure that the Council members are quoted accurately.

 

Excuse # 4: What about affordable housing? On April 7th, Council member Joi Washington cited the Borough’s need for preserving affordable housing as her excuse for opposing a referendum.

“There is an affordable housing crisis [in Media] …when you make the housing supply scarce by saying…we don’t want more housing on this place or that place…anything that becomes available is more expensive.” View meeting and advance to time signature: 1:33:11 KMG’s Response to Excuse # 4: This is a classic example of deploying “whataboutism” to change the subject and confuse the issue. “Whatboutism” is a form of argumentation that politicians revert to when they can’t adequately address the issue being discussed. However, KMG will address the relationship between open space preservation and affordable housing head on: The data show that building on our wooded spaces has actually driven the price of housing UP in our town. We invite Media residents to check out the real estate ads for the two most recent housing developments facilitated by Media Borough Council on what is now forever lost green space at 100 North Providence Road and 115 West 6th Street. You'll need to be a millionaire to buy a house in one of those developments where towering trees once protected our air and water. The asking price for houses at these developments start at $989,990 and $1,495,000. KMG believes that Borough Council could preserve green open space AND preserve and create affordable housing if they were willing to take on greedy developers and big real estate companies by:

  • Passing an inclusionary zoning law that requires developers to set aside a percentage of units as affordable housing in any new housing development.

  • Creating a borough-funded home repair fund to help seniors and other low- and moderate-income homeowners fix up their houses rather than being forced to sell out to predatory real estate agents who “flip” houses and sell to more wealthy individuals and families.

  • Using zoning authority to require that existing housing stock be used for people to live in rather than for use as fancy offices for attorneys and other businesses.

  • Enacting rent stabilization measures to keep rental housing in Media affordable.

It’s a red herring to cynically pit open space preservation versus affordable housing. It’s a tactic meant to divide environmentalists from social justice advocates. KMG refuses to fall for the trap. In fact, the twin problems of the alarming loss of green space AND the equally alarming loss of affordable housing in Media require our elected official to tame profit-driven development, not to facilitate and fast track housing for the uber wealthy. What about that?

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