Rockingham County Housing Shortage

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

It's the latest controversy in the saving farmland versus urban growth debate, a 105 acre plot of farmland designated as agricultural reserve by Rockingham County's comprehensive plan.

But WHSV found out the developers and some area realtors are saying to put down this plan is to deprive the area of what it needs the most - lower cost housing.

"They're nurses, they're farmers, they're policemen, they're teachers, they're factory workers. These are all people that have a right to buy a house cause they want to live that American dream and they can't do it."

ERA Realtor Murray Mahool says the plan proposed by MILA LLC is exactly what Rockingham County needs to keep middle income families in the area. MILA wants to put 285 houses in the $130-180,000 price range over five years on the land.

"We have public utilities, which is in the comp plan," says Tim Lacey, one of the MILA developers. "We adjoin the city on two sides, and that's one of the other things, they want growth to adjoin the cities and towns. And we're in the urban growth ring."

Lacy's partner David Milstead says much has been made of other land available for building, but he says it's not that easy.

"There's very little land for sale, and if it is its so overpriced that you cannot build the house that fits the medium income families," explains Milstead.

Realtors estimate 70-75 percent of people in the area fall in the middle income bracket. MILA urges anyone who has an interest in low cost housing to contact their supervisor.


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