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A clarification, important for our future here in Rappahannock County: The term “affordable housing” has been in many conversations for quite awhile. Many of these have not really shown any actual knowledge of what affordable housing is, particularly here in Rappahannock. 

Our comprehensive plan describes affordable housing (page 105) as: “Sufficient to meet the current and future of residents of all levels of income in the locality.” So, our comprehensive plan does not consider the term to mean a “one-size-fits-all” but rather a varying size of what is considered affordable and viable for the future of all residents here. Two areas are under discussion currently. 

In the Sperryville Community Alliance study, it noted the adage, “Retail follows rooftops” when reporting on affordable housing there. One property is seeking to add housing on two-acre lots which would be more affordable than the five-acre plan.

Housing on five acres attracts a wealthier buyer, strengthening the exclusivity and lengthening divide between incomes and adding to the difficulty of families with youngsters and incoming young adults who want to live here. Those young people are the ones who will build a strong and resilient future that our acknowledged aging community needs to thrive.

A second example is the newly planned Rush River Commons with its planned housing for various residents’ needs and an addition of the Rappahannock Food Pantry along with connecting walking trails to the main part of Washington. There are many thoughtful paths forward to ensure a thriving future in the county we love.

Sheila Gresinger



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