Affordability can also take a hit. “What happens is that
you create this development, but it starts eking into
and hurting you on the affordable housing front,” adds
Simon. “The units become pretty darned expensive
because it’s a great environment, but you can be a victim of your own success. You have to think about how
to incorporate workforce housing to accommodate all
The biggest challenge may be that while many Americans say they want to live where they can walk to most
destinations, many still covet their car. That’s a challenge developers don’t expect to go away, though they
do expect people to eventually end up driving less.
Murdocco says urban planners and developers could
achieve bigger reductions in auto use with incentives.
“I’ve found that these walkable developments aren’t
incentivizing use of transit,” he argues. “They’re not taking measurable steps to reduce auto dependency. There
are no rent reductions if you don’t take a parking spot
Americans want to live where they can walk to most destinations.
with your unit. Or they don’t offer a discount voucher
if you can show you’re using the train or riding the bus.”
At Pike & Rose, Papillon says Montgomery County officials pushed his company to include fewer than typical
parking spots. “What we’re finding is that the initial resident is more likely than not to have a vehicle,” he says.
“But it’s good news that the ratio of units to cars is still
less than a standard apartment building in a suburb off
a highway. We do have fewer cars.
“But I do think the parking and auto-use question is
very dependent on your community and the area you’re
in,” adds Papillon. “Honestly, people just want options.
And we’re providing an option to them with something
they’ve never had in this area.”
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and freelance writer
who writes frequently on real estate, business and
legal issues. Ms. Filisko served as an editor at NAR’s
REALTOR© Magazine for 10 years.