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Use Permit Could Deter New Construction for One Virginia City

Digested from “Portsmouth weighs new multifamily housing rule” (11/4/15) Somers, Johanna

The planning commission for Portsmouth, Virginia, has recommended to the city council a new regulation that would require a use permit for developers of multifamily communities. Such a permit would require the developer to appear before the council for approval.

Opponents of the regulation note that developers won't want the extra hassle, expense and uncertainty, noting that it effectively turns permitting into a zoning process. This could deter developers from constructing apartments needed for the area.

Supporters such as Councilman Paige Cherry, however, have noted the desire for increased input, especially in regard to where low-income housing might be placed. Such stigmatization has been common for other affordable-housing communities.

If the regulation passes, the city would be the only one in its region to require a use permit.

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