Roger K. Lewis, in his June 23 Urban Planning column, “A lawsuit can’t begin to solve D.C.’s lack of affordable housing” [Real Estate], viewed the popular crisis of affordable housing through the lens of a lawsuit. He addressed the evident issues: Lack of land and high costs of construction mean affordable housing will exist only through higher and higher subsidies.

It would help the discussion to look at some of the costs of construction that we impose through regulations. Not the cost of steel or concrete or lumber or labor, but those valuable features that a family might forgo to have a place to live: afforestation (purchasing land somewhere and planting trees there even if none are removed to build the new affordable house) or sprinkler systems in addition to smoke alarms. Even storm-water facilities. Was there a time when storm-water management was a government function, all of us together, instead of loading the cost on the newcomer, thereby crushing any chance of lower-income families living in the community without relying on political allies for government subsidies?

Mr. Lewis observed that we voters and taxpayers are responsible and will have to shoulder the burden of taxation to pay the subsidies for affordable housing to have better features than those in the older housing we live in. Let’s hope he has started a discussion of what is meant by “affordable” housing.

Mel Tull, Montgomery Village