Bringing Back Affordable Housing

Advocates of affordable housing, a diminishing commodity in Albemarle County and elsewhere in Virginia, are promoting community land trusts to address the problem.

Bill Edgerton, a member of the Albemarle Planning Commission, and mortgage banker Frazier Bell are promoting the concept in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

A community land trust is a nonprofit corporation that creates home-buying opportunities for people who would otherwise be locked out of the housing market. The trust lowers housing costs by removing the cost of land from home ownership.

While about 200 land trusts exist in the United States, the idea hasn't caught on in Virginia.

The Albemarle region has some of the most expensive housing in Virginia, even though wages haven't kept pace. The median home sales price in the Charlottesville metropolitan area jumped from $150,000 in 2000 to $279,000 in 2006.

Edgerton and Bell traveled to Burlington, Vermont, this year to look at that city's program. Bell considers it one of the best and wants to mimic it here in the Commonwealth. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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