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Valley gets update on city plan

VALLEY — The principal planner for the East Alabama Regional Planning & Development Commission, Anniston, gave an update to the Valley City Council Monday on a comprehensive plan that is being prepared for the city. Ryan Kallem reviewed a lengthy report on housing in the city.

The report included information on the city’s housing unit types, tenure and occupancy, vacancy status, household sizes, the average age of homes, housing conditions, housing values, and the affordability of housing.

The assessments drawn from the study include:

•Single-family homes are
the dominant housing type in Valley, but since 2009 the city has seen some growth in multi-family and manufactured housing;

•Since 2009, owner-occupied housing units in the city have declined and renter-occupied housing has increased; overall, occupancy in the city has dropped slightly below average rates for the state and significantly below the national average;

•Since 2009, Valley has had a significantly larger increase than either Chambers County and the U.S. in terms of two-person households;

•Homes in Valley tend to be older than the state or national average;

•The greatest need for home improvements in the city is with manufactured homes; single-family homes need some improvement and multi-family homes need little in the way of improvement;

•Home values in Valley is comparable to Chambers County but substantially below the values for the state and nation;

•Valley’s housing affordability is slightly lower than Chambers County, slightly higher than Alabama and considerably higher than the U.S.;

•Valley is on par in terms of owner-occupied housing affordability compared to the county, state and nation;

•Valley is rated slightly higher in renter-occupied housing affordability compared to the rest of the county, state and nation.

One category that caught the eye of Mayor Leonard Riley involved substandard housing in Valley.

“We knew before this report that we have a problem with this,” he said. “We have taken many of them down, but we still have 968 substandard homes.”

The mayor said he would like to see some new subdivisions in the city.

“We will continue to removed dilapidated houses, and we will be working with building contractors over the next four or five years to build some new subdivisions here.”

The study defines substandard housing as dwellings that show some signs of considerable deterioration to the aesthetic appearance of the structure and is in need of repair work to siding and painted walls, roofs, doors and windows, foundations and the yards.

Dilapidated housing is defined as housing that is uninhabitable and unsafe to live in, requiring complete replacement
and renovation or demolition.