Update on work of the Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group

The Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group met again for the first time after the town staff worked over the past 2 months to hold 59 focus groups, talking to nearly 450 people about what an affordable housing plan for the town should look like. We were joined by two new members; a representative from UNC (Linda Convissor) and a representative from the Homebuilders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties (Nick Tennyson).

Focus groups were held with Habitat for Humanity families, UNC undergrad and graduate students, Chapel Hill fire fighters, residents of Northside, realtors, El Centro Hispano clients, members of the UNC Employees’ Forum, Community Home Trust owners, Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools employees, members of the Homebuilders Association and many others.

Town staff summarized the findings from the 59 focus groups. Key themes included that the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance cannot address all housing needs, the desire for students to have parking for their cars, the need for affordable rental units in addition to units for purchase, the high tax rate, the decreasing pool of available housing for those with middle incomes, and the conflict between having an Urban Services Boundary and density NIMBYism.

We discussed these issues along with the feeling that environmental protection (stormwater management for example) seems to be given priority over social equity when planning for new housing development.

We also spent a good deal of time discussing how the 1-page strategy should be formulated – should it be a list of priorities for who should receive affordable housing? Should it be a set of strategies for increasing the pool of affordable housing or making the community a more affordable one? Should it be a mix of the two? We have made some decisions, but will discuss it further at our meeting next week.

What do you think? Should a set of priorities be developed? Ranked? Should we set a target number of units to be developed each year?  Should the 1-pager contain strategies for how to achieve these goals? We want to make sure that the strategy will help the Town Council members to make decisions on how best to use limited funds.

[This post is a follow-up to the thread you can find with the below link]


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