By Pat Fain and Leslie Agron
Today Oak Ridge has a default housing policy that begins and ends with two modest grants from Housing and Urban Development consisting of objectives decided internally by city staff. Input from the public has been minimal at best, despite HUD requirements to hold public input meetings. These were held, minimally advertised and sparsely attended. In the past, these objectives were then approved by Oak Ridge City Council without holding Council work sessions to discuss real needs or creative solutions for those needs.
This year and this month, Council will begin an open and (hopefully) far-reaching discussion for a well-thought-out response to community concerns and the need to protect the tax base of the city from further erosion resulting from the deterioration of a significant portion of the housing built before 1945. This paper is to offer ideas and alternate thinking as the City Council proceeds to contemplate the path ahead. [Read more…]