The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Attack of the paranoid suburanites in Roanoke County

I an article appearing this morning in the Roanoke Times, several hundred Roanoke County residents showed up last night at a Board of Supervisors' meeting to oppose the conversion of an existing 504 unit apartment complex into low income housing. Of course, all in the name of property values.

The existing apartment complex, known as "San Souci" - pronounced San Shoo-She, or as I use to call it when I lived in Roanoke, San White trashy- would receive a considerable upgrade, which it appears to be in dire need of, and then rented to low to moderate income residents.

Having worked in the field of development for a few years, adjacent residents (in this case upper income white folks) would have likely been opposed to anything that could have conceivable been developed there - even if the developer would have proposed to tear down the aging apartment complex and build $300, 000 McMansions. It's just the nature of the beast, people oppose anything and everything.

In this case, residents from the County near and far appear to be united in their fear and disdain for poor folks. After all, they will likely increase crime, go to their schools, and destroy the upgraded property once the keys are handed over to them. Though unspoken, these new residents will likely be, well of a different color too.

Since I am somewhat familiar with this particular aging apartment complex I can tell you it (San Souci) is already a low/moderate income housing development. But by County officials calling the proposed development as a future "low income" housing development, they might as well have called it "a welfare crack haven with a disproportional number of young disenfranchised urban dwellers that will destroy all that you worked so hard to obtain" housing. Really. Who cares if the development might be full of grandmothers living social security check to social security check, or the fact that there is no evidence that low income housing diminishes the value of adjacent properties.

Regardless, Roanoke County invited trouble by stating that this new development would be for "low income" residents. Instead a more benign term - such as "affordable units/housing" might have been more palatable to nearby residents. Still, being poor in some parts just isn't acceptable. Isn't that why there are Cities in the Commonwealth?


  • At 8/23/2005 8:16 AM, Anonymous Suzanne Chestnut said…

    I am also familiar with San Souci and it is already low income housing. It is so sad that there is so much fear out there of people who are different. I have worked with many children from these types of housing developments and the children are wonderful and need good schools and good teachers. You would think everyone would want that for their future leaders. I guess not. Way to go Roanoke County!


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