Fairfax City’s first-ever for-sale affordable housing units open to residents

Restidents have started to move into the five townhouses designated as affordable dwelling units in Fairfax City’s new Sutton Heights development (courtesy EYA)

Fairfax City’s first for-sale affordable dwelling units have officially become homes.

Residents have started moving into the designated units in the new Sutton Heights townhouse community at 3500 Pickett Road, developer EYA and the City of Fairfax announced today (Tuesday).

The 50-unit project was the first one approved under the city’s Affordable Dwelling Units (ADU) program, which was established on June 23, 2020 to promote the inclusion of affordable units in new residential developments.

“Everyone in the region is designing new ways in which to provide more housing, and more importantly, more affordable housing,” Fairfax City Manager Rob Stalzer said. “EYA, as the developer, brought significant expertise and creativity in delivering a project that supports the area’s growing housing needs.”

Sutton Heights was approved by the Fairfax City Council in the summer of 2020 after 16 months of discussion, The Connection reported at the time. During that time, EYA provided input as the city amended its zoning ordinance to add affordable housing requirements for any development with 30 or more units.

Though the project only includes five ADUs, it offered a rare opportunity for residents looking to buy a home instead of renting one. Fairfax City has three developments with dedicated affordable rental units: West Wood Oaks (10734 West Drive), Scout on the Circle (9450 Fairfax Blvd) and The Moxley (4040 Gateway Drive).

The Sutton Heights units were open to first-time homebuyers who earn 70% or less of the area median income (AMI), among other criteria. Fairfax City’s median household income is $118,492, per its 2023 fact book.

More than 200 people applied for the lottery that the city organized for the units, according to EYA. Finalists were selected in June, and the first resident moved in earlier this month, with all five ADUs expected to be occupied by the end of September.

“EYA is committed to creating mixed-income housing,” said EYA’s Chief Acquisition Officer, Aakash Thakkar. “We appreciated the opportunity to work collaboratively with the City of Fairfax to develop this ADU program, and we are proud to be the first developer in the City of Fairfax to implement it to create economic diversity and housing for a range of incomes.”

Located north of Fair City Mall and Main Street, Sutton Heights consists of three- and four-story townhomes with private garage parking, optional rooftop terraces, and a new promenade with seating and open park space.

According to EYA, more than 60% of residents have moved in. Construction is on track to be completed early this fall.

Under Fairfax City’s ADU program, single-family developments must designate 10% of their total units as affordable to those earning 70% of the AMI or less, while multifamily projects provide 6% of units as affordable to those earning 60% or less. Projects that meet those standards are granted bonus density.