McKINNEY, TX – Affordable housing is an issue that cities across the nation deal with. And McKinney is no exception.

During a recent McKinney City Council session, Lisa Hermes, the President and CEO of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, spoke about this issue:

“I’m here today to applaud the work you are doing as you take on the challenge of creating a truly balanced housing stock for our community today and for our community tomorrow,” said Hermes. “As projects come before council, you often hear our neighbors express concern and fear that isn’t always rooted in facts. Multi-family must be part of a comprehensive housing strategy and not viewed as some taboo housing option.  In addition to affordability, it is increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice by many segments of our population.”

In addition, the McKinney Chamber released the following statement regarding balanced and/or affordable housing in McKinney:

“The McKinney Chamber of Commerce recognizes that housing affordability is not an issue unique to McKinney. The problem with housing cost was not created by the current council and will take a long-term approach to help solve. We do applaud the current council looking to start the steps of a long-term plan that can begin to make progress on McKinney’s sustainability.

We understand the growing housing burden on many of our citizens resulting in a workforce issue for many businesses both large and small. As companies are looking to recruit workers including young professionals, teachers, manufacturing, distribution, hospitality, entry level professional positions, to name a few, this has become an increasingly troublesome issue for companies in McKinney to recruit and retain a talented workforce.

The impact of the lack of starter homes for young families has a created a challenge for our school district with declining elementary student populations that jeopardizes state funding. Outside of funding being jeopardized the housing cost is becoming a larger burden on teachers and public servants’ income.

In addition, as companies are recruiting workers as far away as Oklahoma, we recognize the increased levels of traffic congestion and wear of our roads. Tax dollars are being spent within city and state’s budgets to fund ever increasing transportation cost just to import labor due to the lack of housing affordability. It needs to be recognized that some of the largest property taxpayers are not finding their workforce in McKinney increasing risk their company relocating or ever-increasing cost of road construction funding.

We urge the council to look at the data provided by the recent analysis of the esteemed group, Root Policy Research, and use the information to provide a clear vision for the City’s future growth. The Chamber’s vision is to create a globally competitive, vibrant community for current and future generations. This can only be achieved if our community has diversified housing options for residents at all stages of their lives.

It needs to be recognized that the free market cannot solve housing affordability when a free market does not exist. Items such as minimum lot sizes, maximum building heights, increased building standards, parking garages and other requirements will require the city to directly assist with the affordability of the community. We encourage city standards that help with sustainability but discourage the use of over burdening standards and fees to discriminate against housing types or income classes of families.

We encourage the Council to analyze the data and then use the provided information to create a balanced plan for a sustainable community. A plan with measurable marks related to diversified housing to build a sustainable city that can be followed in times when reviewing individual zoning cases that in short term are fought by individuals that have lost sight of individual property rights and anti-growth of McKinney.

Again, we believe the City has taken the necessary steps to begin a comprehensive approach to planning a strong, vibrant community that will be attractive to workforce and therefore attractive to commercial development.”