Platform - Affordable Housing

Details

  • Rising rents and housing costs push low income people out of Chapel Hill.  Many of our town police officers, firefighters, and teachers can't afford to live here. 

  • About 1/3 of all the single-family homes in Chapel Hill (about 4,000 units) are appraised at less than $230,000, which puts them within reach of people making the median area income. The problem is, many of these houses that were originally built for modest income families are not currently available for modest income families to purchase because they are being used as student rentals.

  • 2014-July 25 Commentary by Ellie Kinnaird.

  • Housing Choice Vouchers are being rejected by landlords.

  • The Town Council rezoned Ephesus-Fordham without requiring any affordable housing.  This was a lost opportunity.

  • DHIC debacle:  In January 2014 the Town gave 8.5 acres of land to DHIC for $ 100 to provide affordable housing, but in August we learn that DHIC has failed to acquire a grant that would permit them to build.  See this Daily Tarheel article.

  • One complication is that NC laws prohibit rent control.  See NC General Statute 42.14.1.

Proposed Solutions

  1. Planning Commission member Buffie Webber suggested that if the Town set a policy that no more than three unrelated individuals can share a single-family home (the limit currently is four), AND enforced it, investors would have less incentive to buy up single family homes and rent them out to students, because the homes would generate less rental income. The students would have to find alternative housing, but apparently there is plenty of vacancy on campus and in apartments.

  2. Require "job/housing linkages".  For example, do not approve a commercial development unless the workers can afford to live nearby.  Have a business subsidize affordable housing if their workers need it.

  3. Microhousing (see NOMAD and this Seattle story)

  4. Incentivize AH.  See "Happy City" excerpt

  5. We also need a good definition of AH, as some developers say they provide AH, but it's actually middle class housing.

  6. Repeal NC G.S. 42-14.1.

 

 

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