Chapel Hill's Affordable Housing Strategy has been drafted - see what you think.

The Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Technical Assistance Group concluded its meetings on Tuesday May 17th by finalizing a draft of a 1-page Affordable Housing Strategy (below).  The one-pager has been emailed out to all those who attended a focus group and feedback sought. The final Strategy will be presented to the Town Council on Monday, June 13th with participation of all Group members.

I believe this is a comprehensive strategy that, once passed by the Chapel Hill Town Council, will allow Town staff to move forward with it’s work to support and provide a broad range of affordable housing without having the need to continually seek approval of the Council.  

We tried to balance the needs of Chapel Hill residents and workers, affordable housing non-profits, and developers and to provide for a broad range of affordable housing options from rentals to home ownership. The strategy is dense and I feel we remained true to what we heard in the nearly 60 focus groups held. The Town staff worked very hard to assimilate all of the information gathered and facilitate healthy discussion in our Group.

Did we get it right?

Affordable Housing Strategy Statement:

The Town of Chapel Hill’s goal is to increase the availability of and access to housing for households and individuals with a range of incomes, from those who are homeless to those in middle-income households. The Town of Chapel Hill will work with for-profit and non-profit housing providers to offer a variety of housing opportunities that will promote socioeconomic diversity; provide individuals with the ability to remain in Chapel Hill through different stages in their lives; and support employee recruitment and retention.

1) Support solutions and programs that offer affordable housing options along the entire continuum of housing need

a) Research and quantify the number, type, and location of affordable housing units that are needed and desired by the community

b) Maintain a commitment to providing affordable homeownership opportunities

c) Focus on the development of affordable rental housing for a variety of lifestyles, which includes studio units, supportive housing units, and units for families

d) Support the reuse and redevelopment ofproperty that can be developed into affordable housing

e) Research, develop, and identify funding sources for a middle-income housing program, such as a revolving loan fund

f) Support the ability for senior citizens to age-in-place or transition to affordable housing within the community

g) Work with affordable housing providers to develop a sustainable housing maintenance program

h) Develop a policy for the acceptance of an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance payment-in-lieu option

2) Advocate for a sustainable community that balances economic vitality, socialequity, and environmental protection

a) Ease the residential tax burden by increasing the non-residential tax base consistent with the principles of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan

b) Work with the community to identify and address policies that may inhibit the provision of affordable housing, such as the urban services boundary

c) Link affordable housing policies with transportation needs and costs

d) Work with community partners to support the rights of renters and landlords

e) Develop affordable, off-campus student rental housing along transportation corridors in order to reduce the conversion of single-family properties into student rental units

f) Address the development pressures on the Pine Knolls and Northside neighborhoods by supporting a housing and cultural preservation program in the neighborhoods

3) Pursue creative partnerships on a local and regional level

a) Continue efforts to streamline the Town’s development review process

b) Research and assemble incentive packages that encourage the development of mixed-income housing

c) Identify and develop local funding sources

d) Explore innovative solutions to reduce the cost of non-mortgage related housing costs such as energy expenses, homeowner association dues, and taxes

e) Expand the financial support available to non-profit housing providers both for operating and project expenses

f) Consider solutions that include partnering with the County, other municipalities, and major employers


I see that eroding the Rural Buffer, long a goal of the profits-first development crowd who identified the affordable-housing issue as possibly the most effective ploy.  b) Work with the community to identify and address policies that may inhibit the provision of affordable housing, such as the urban services boundary

The urban services boundary speaks to whether we will have denser development or sprawl. That's pretty much the extent of it. Not sure why they would single that out. If that's the best prospect then there's not much to be gained in the 'inhibiting policy' section.I was glad to see the next point on transportation. It needs to be recognized that our significant contribution to fare-free bus is a direct contribution to affordability, allowing low and moderate income families to save the cost of one or even two cars (and the gas to power them). To put it in numbers, Carrboro's contribution to fare-free transit is more than the entire county's federal HOME allotment from which we subsidize affordable housing projects. I'm glad to see Chapel Hill wants to increase student rental stock. That will perhaps free up some affordable workforce rental here in Carrboro.

The urban services boundary speaks to limiting sprawl only.  It says how we will NOT grow, which is important.  Namely, we will not roll out subdivision after subdivision on water/sewer at 1/4-acre lot densities into the rural buffer.Having denser development, or more accurately, as is most often the case, re-development-- depends on the ability of the elected officials of a municipality to say where they believe it is appropriate that growth SHOULD go, what form should it take, and then stand up for those decisions when the NIMBY crowd comes out to oppose any changes to a neighborhood's status quo. With that in mind, if Chapel Hill really wants to address affordable housing issues, then the item Mark identifies above should not take aim at the rural buffer, but instead at the Neighborhood Conservation District process and immediately stop the development of additional NCDs.Whatever the intent of these districts were to begin with, they have been implemented in a way as to minimize the amount of redevelopment opportunity in most of the neighborhoods where they have been executed.With the ability to redevelop significantly curtailed (minimum lot sizes of 1 acre in Greenwood, etc) in 6 neighborhoods in Chapel Hill and 2 more NCDs on the drawing board, there is an inexorable process at work whereby fewer and fewer places are capable of being redeveloped, which directs greater and greater price pressure on the places where redevelopment is not made financially infeasible by these local overlay districts. What will this pressure be like when Chapel Hill reaches 15-20 NCDs?  What percent of the town will be completely overlay districted out of being able to add affordable housing units?

I completely agree with Patrick. The way NCDs have been implemented is at best a bastardization of the original vision that created them. I've said this before, but the goal of Neighborhood Conservation Districts was to protect neighborhood character as they change, not to prevent any change.

How many neighborhoods in Chapel Hill are so unique, attractive or characterful that they need conserving? Change is a part of life. Why fight it? 

Those that you call the "profits-first development crowd" can't erode
the rural buffer by themselves, can they? Don't the local governments
establish the zoning for each area and/or approve the SUPs?And
the school board and OWASA also give their approvals, I believe. So why
isn't the eroding of the rural buffer a whole community problem? (I
don't see what it has to do with the deficit of affordable housing.)

All I'm saying is that the language about the "urban serevices boundary" (notice the term "rural buffer" was carefully avoided) was purposefully inserted among the goals. Many developers want access to the rural buffer. That is why they "support" affordable housing while arguing that the rural buffer is preventing our firemen, policemen, teachers, nurses, etc. from owning a home (you know - the heroes they wish had enough money to buy their mcmansions, but unfortunately do not). It's a small victory for them that this ploy has been included in the affordable housing goals.

Mark,I don't think there is anything wrong with pointing out that the urban services boundary constrains the number of housing units in Chapel Hill.  It is a fact - ignoring it won't make it go away.  Addressing it doesn't mean it should be changed or discarded.  There is very little undeveloped land left in Chapel Hill to build new housing - especially in the currently most preferred style.  If we accept that fact then the discussion can focus (as you and others have previously pointed out) in how we can adopt new styles to get more housing on the land we have left and on property that will eventually be redeveloped in the future.I think NOT including a discussion of the urban services boundary in an affordable housing strategy would simply be ignoring the fact that we have to learn how to live (and prosper) while living within our means (so to speak).

The goal is to maintain a sustainable community and one of the actions is to research policies. The research will show that maintaining the rural buffer is the best way to achieve the goal while broaching the buffer would do nothing to increase the inventory of affordable housing. I feel totally confident in that. 

Dan,Our fare-free transit system contributes to affordability for low and moderate income families only if they can afford to live here and avail themselves of that service.  It certainly is a benefit but until we greatly increase our supply of affordable housing it will, unfortunately, be beneficial to a fairly small minority.  The partners should be applauded for this contribution but the much greater issue remains unresolved.

This question is examined more closely here.

Dan,While that link does generate a useful index number for some low-moderate income individuals I don't see how our fare-free transit system would have much of a beneficial effect on the index for all of our police officers, fire men/women, teachers, etc. who can't afford to live in CH-Carrboro and have to drive from often long distances just to get here.  How is fare-free transit benefiting these individuals?

George, you might talk to the folks at the Home Trust and ask how transit availability affects their propsective homeowners.

Dan, I'm sure that you're correct that for some folks who qualify for OCHLT homes, the access to the bus makes it possible for some of those households to be 1-car instead of 2-car families, which makes it easier to afford the loans on subsidized property.However, I think George's point is that the gulf between median income and median home price in CH/C (and particularly CH) is such that the annual spending between a 2-car commuting household and a 1-car/1-transit user commuting household is probably overwhelmed by the housing side of the cost equation, especially when looking at home ownership.The data seems to bear this out.  Check out this map from H+T. The left map is H+T for renters in CH/C at the regional median income in the Triangle, where the target is keeping your H+T spending below 45% of household income. Virtually all of Carrboro looks good at or below 40%, and Chapel Hil, while creeping into the low 40s on the fringe, is still below that mark. Good for renters!But then look to the right at the homeownership map.  Near Meadowmont, H+T is about 67% of median household income.  With the exception of Willow Drive, everything east of Columbia St in Chapel Hill is at 52% and above, with all but one non-Willow Drive/UMall block group being at 60% and above. Central Carrboro is right at 45%, the block group between W Main and N. Greensboro is at 51%, and the north side of N Greensboro St is at 64%. (only 34% to rent in the same neighborhood!)For comparison, let's look at Woodcroft in Durham, which has entry-level homebuying opportunities as well as rental and higher-priced housing mixed together. While not as frequent as some Chapel Hill Transit routes, Triangle Transit provides a short 20-minute trip from most of Woodcroft Parkway to UNC Student Union on 30 minute bus frequencies.Woodcroft H+T map. While there are definitely some places where H+T poses a problem for median households along Woodcroft Pkwy, look at the area just north of the road.  41% H+T index for Renting versus 46% for Owning. The block group surrounding Southpoint, which also has a slightly better level of regional bus service (than Woodcroft) along Renaissance Pkwy?  42% for Renting, versus 50% for Owning.Bottom line: our local transit investment helps support affordable housing by lowering transportation costs to households, particularly if they are renters.  However, once a median income household seeks to buy a home, the cost of ownership compared to renting is so high in most of Chapel Hill / Carrboro that any financial benefits conferred upon them by transit access are rendered moot without an OCHLT subsidized home.  Which brings us back to George's other point- we've got to build more units, of both market rate (to slow market appreciation by better balance of supply/demand) and OCHLT homes.  

Glad we are all in agreement.

Patrick,You obviously did a much better job of explaining my point than I did.  Well said.

I don't want to be a wet blanket but the reality is that this is going to do little if any good.  First of all, think about why there isn't enough affordable housing now.  And secondly think about whether the factors are going to change.Demand for affordable housing in CH/C is much higher than supply and anytime anything is built the imbalance gets worse.  When the idea of opening stores that people in affordable housing like to shop at comes up, we're so hostile to it that we not only won't approve the stores close to where those people live, we won't approve it at all and as a result it ends up being built in the neighboring country, increasing not only the cost to get there but also havnig the effect of putting upward pressure on property taxes. People are against cutting down trees even though people and tress can't exist in the same space and consequently the more trees we have the fewer people and thus the less affordable housing we'll have.UNC grows and grows and not only do we not generate enough housing for them, we constantly want to pretend we should be all things to everybody and accomodate not just UNC workers but everybody else too.   And on and on and on.  You simpy can't have X and Not X at the same time.  Surrounding areas have more affordable housing and yet they're the models people around here think we should not emulate instead of emulate.  How can we be less like the places that have more affordable housing and yet also have more affordable housing?  Unfortunately for us, 1+1=2 and the stubborn rules of logic are unlikely to magically change anytime soon.

" People are against cutting down trees even though people and trees
can't exist in the same space and consequently the more trees we have
the fewer people and thus the less affordable housing we'll have."Jose, the above statement you made is indeed true except that people AND trees can exist in the same space if we're willing to adapt to new ways of living.  We have a lot of trees in Chapel Hill now and everyone (well, most everyone) seems to like and enjoy the trees and wants to maintain as many as possible.  We also have built out on about 90-95% of our land and the retention of the urban services boundary insures that there will be no more land to build on once the remaining is gone.So with virtually no more land to build more residences the existing residences will become more and more valuable (to those that can afford them) and the amount of affordable housing will decrease.  Even if we add more "affordable" housing through Council-mandated additions to developers' projects the amount of housing affordable to low and moderate income families will decrease.The situation certainly looks fairly bleak and the number of solutions, if any, is probably limited.  But there is one way to preserve trees AND to increase the number of residences at the same time - build up.  Many of the people who post regularly here have advocated this solution and I myself believe that if we don't allow more dense (i.e., taller) building then the rate of increase of residences will not keep up with demand and the cost of housing (and taxes) will increase for everyone in this area and we will price many completely out of the market.  Obviously this idea is not welcomed by those who have come to view their houses as investments and would like to see that investment increase in value by 5-10% a year until they bolt the town to retire in a "more affordable" community.However, my endorsement of more density does not come without a caveat.  We have to make sure that any increase in density is sustainable - be it schools, water, transportation, trash, etc..  So yes, I believe that a strategy can be implemented but the people who sit at the table have to be willing to accept sustainable growth, even if it means their home isn't going to increase significantly in value every year. 

I live in an affordable, middle income neighborhood in southern Orange County. The problem is that it is an old neighborhood so many of the houses don't have the most modern luxuries, such as marble countertops, etc. Before two years ago, most houses that went on the market were gone within a couple of months. But over the past year, we've watched as more and more houses are going up for sale without any of them being sold. Are we sure there is a demand for affordable housing or are more and more people happy to move to Durham and other communities where there are NEW communities of affordable single family homes? As for the issue of building up, that assumes that more and more incoming residents are going to be happy living in apartments without yards in urban environments. A far cry from the village image of Chapel Hill. We know Greenbridge is not full, is Rosemary Village? How about the place over Main St in Carrboro (across from the Hillsborough St intersection)? Planning requires assumptions to be made, but we have some concrete examples. It would be very useful to assess those examples before pushing any additional growth upwards.  

Terri,The examples you gave of empty condos were of two situations where the condos were probably overpriced (significantly) to start with.  Regarding the question of whether everyone wants to live in a multi-story apartment - of course not.  But you can also achieve density by smaller homes on smaller lots as well.  But there are folks, especially some of the newer generation, who don't want to have to maintain a house and yard.The issue is whether Chapel Hill can remain the village that everyone seems to have such fond memories of without pricing many of the current residents out and I don't think it can.

George,Your response is what confuses me on this issue. The 3 examples I gave are the only 3 high rise buildings I know of that aren't built specifically for students. So if they aren't populated, how can you determine they are all overpriced rather than not-in-demand? I'm also confused by the claim that we could be smaller houses on smaller lots. In your previous post, you rightly claimed that we're pretty much built out and needed to go up. I'm not saying I disagree with you; I just think much of the discussion makes assumptions that need to be tested out.We haven't been a village for a long, long time. To me the question is whether we are going to become a highly urbanized, densely populated small city or whether we are going to retain our current low profile, small town existence.

Terri,First let me say that I shouldn't have restricted myself to talking about "building up" and instead should have just talked about "greater density".  We can still fit more people into the same space with increased density.  Regarding 4-sale units of greater than a couple of stories in height, I believe that 54 East has done quite well.  Regarding higher density rental units I also believe that Cosgrove Hill on Dobbins Rd. in CH has done well and the new rental units at Chapel Hill North are apparently doing well even though they just began renting a few months ago.  How many of these units are being rented by students I can't say.  I also think that one has to be careful not to equate lack of sales with a lack of desirability: the banks have gotten so conservative over the last few years that it has gotten harder for folks to either get a mortgage or to sell their existing home if they're moving from someplace else.   Getting back to my original argument though: if you don't build many more units, and your community remains  an attactive place to live (great schools, good restaurants, whatever), then the prices of the existing units will be under pressure to increase.  It's simply a case of supply and demand.

Terri, thanks for providing your neighborhood as an example for discussion.I agree with you that your neighborhood is a middle-income neighborhood in Orange County. The fantastic NY Times map of 2009 American Community Survey data indicates as much, with a median household income of $42,375. (Select "View More Maps," THEN "Income," THEN "Median Household Income" map.  Move Google Map to Carrboro, then See Census Tract 10704 containing University Lake) For reference, the ACS cites Orange County's median household income as $49,836.

However,if your neighborhood previously provided affordable homeownership opportunities to those with median incomes, I would suggest that those days are coming to an end if they are not already over.Here is the evidence that this is unfortunately happening.

1. Take a look at the H+T Index that Dan highlighted for your area.  You'll see that renting in your neighborhood looks to be close to affordable under the H+T calculations at 48% of the regional median income, which was $48,845 when the H+T index was created. In the census block group north of yours the H+T index for renters is an affordable 40%.  Of course, since your neighborhood income is closer to $42k, then if you were to judge the H+T numbers based on the incomes of actual neighborhood residents,the percentages would be higher (and less affordable) than these figures.

But now look to the right map at the ownership numbers. Your neighborhood requires a 72% contribution for housing and transportation for owners.  Immediately to the north, 52%.  But let's explore the income question further.  I changed the H+T index from the median household income of about $48k--- to the regional "moderate" income, which is supposed to be 80% of the median, at about $39k.  I'm sure we can agree that this is more representative of the median income of residents who live in your neighborhood today than $48k.  The result: for those earning the median income of residents in your neighborhood, new ownership in your census tract requires 63%-88% of household income directed to housing and transportation. 

What this means is that there are homeowners living in your neighborhood who have owned for many years, but if they were to come to the neighborhood today as homebuyers with their current income, they would not be able to buy the home that they live in today, and in many cases, they would not be remotely close to being able
to buy that home.2.  Take a look at the asking prices of homes on on Yorktown Drive.
  The lowest price is at $195,000. If the median income is about $42k, and your mortgage is supposed to be no bigger than 3x your income under conventional lending practices, then with a 20% down payment, the median income resident in your neighborhood can afford about a $158,000 house. Well, "askin' ain't gettin'," right? 3.  Take a look at the recent sales in the area (this time centered on Damascus Church rd) via  Set the price filter to make 158,000 the max.  All but three homes in the area disappear.  One of the remainders is a foreclosure. While surely some of these sellers are pricing to the optimistic side of values, I doubt that most of them in the $200s are off by an amount that gets you back down to $158,000 or so after negotiating. These findings in the H+T data and the MLS (Zillow, are consistent with what the ACS shows happening in Orange County between 2000 and 2009: high-income households are quickly replacing middle income households.  In fact, between 2000 and 2009, for every two households earning over $100k added to the non-Chapel Hill/Carrboro portion of Orange County, the non-CH/C portion lost one household earning under $100k.George nailed it: the hard fact of housing in Orange County is that if we never build another new building, mixed use or single family detached, dense or not, tall or one-story, the churn of existing home sales and demand to live in a place with a great school system is going to raise prices and drive people out as incomes fail to grow with residential tax rates and younger singles and families cannot buy in to begin with.If you believe the rural buffer should be preserved, then the choices are: A: the physical form for the towns we have now increasingly filled by older, richer homeowning residents and younger, near college/grad school renters with little opportunity of becoming long-term homeowning residents. B: a Chapel Hill and Carrboro that are familiar yet flexible, and provide more physical building space for compact, walkable, mixed use housing and commercial development, and yes, has more density, a larger building stock of 3-5 story buildings (but perhaps more importantly duplexes and granny flats as George points out) AND...a greater diversity of incomes and jobs in the community and something resembling a middle class.

What I dislike about the rural buffer is that option A (which is the reality of direction today) does not stop UNC from filling the jobs (of all wage levels) they continue to grow (especially at the Hospital).  Therefore, the only choice is for folks at the lower end to live in Chatham Co, or Durham, or Alamance, or wherever outside the buffer.  Which decreases our diversity in CH-C, creates longer commutes in single-person cars, and increases sprawl, all of which we would consider bad things that the rural buffer should fight against.  We create a "buffer" to protect rural areas and instead we get sprawl further out.  So I'm glad this study is looking at all options -- if a policy (the buffer) isn't accomplishing the goals, it should be looked at for change. btw, I'm not advocating for eliminating the buffer.  I like the concept.  But I also want a concept that works to achieve our goals.  Don't you?

I love the NY Times site listed above for showing the census data.  You can clearly see here, for example, the impact of UNC students on some of our data (median income in tract 116 is less than $6k).  Great info to be able to see what our community looks like.

Patrick,According to the most recent census data, the median income in the tax block that includes Heritage Hills is $52,000 (rounded). Using your math, I think the maximum house price one could afford on a $52,000 salary is right about $195,000. Since many of the new residents to HH each year are first time home buyers, I think FHA loans are still available (10%) down. But most of them are also young parents, many of whom still have school loans (most of them also earn much more than $52,000). But using that salary as a base, they can't max out on housing costs and still pay for daycare, school loans, and fixing all the things that need repair on an older home. That's why I assume the demographic of people who used to snatch up HH houses are deciding to live in Durham, Pittsboro or Apex and commute. The ones who do live here struggle to find the "time" to work, care for their families, and renovate an older home even if they have the money.Looking through the MLS listings for properties at $230,000, the only ones available in  Chapel Hill are older homes like the ones in HH or condos/townhomes. While there were several 3 to 4 bedroom properties built since the mid-1990s in Apex and Pittsboro. Of course, it's just a hypothesis but from the people I know at the university who have chosen to live outside of Orange County, this fits their profile--they can get more house without renovation for less money in Durham, Apex or Pittsboro. And there is more affordable daycare in those communities as well as the housing costs being lower. The question you and George are posing is whether or not building homes on small lots would cause that demographic to want to live here. I think it's a good question and one that deserves to be looked into. But I don't think housing costs alone will tell the story. Daycare is a huge part of the equation. The year round schools in Wake are also a big draw.

I am not saying that people of a certain demographic or income are not moving here because a preferred housing style for that demographic is not being built.  I am saying that building more housing units, of any type, does two things:1. Creates more units in the 99-year affordable pool managed by OCHLT, making home available to households in the 80% to 100% of median income bracket who otherwise are priced out of the county.2. Increases the housing supply in Chapel Hill / Carrboro and thereby reduces the rate at which home prices accelerate in the area by narrowing the gap between supply and demand.  To the extent that building units brings price appreciation more in line with growth in wages, then fewer households in the 101%-150% will get priced out over time, and our community will have greater socioeconomic diveristy than it would on the path we are currently following. Anecdotally, our household has two student loan payments and a cheerful 18-month old toddler, which makes us familiar with the local daycare market, its opportunities and constraints. Many of our friends and peers are in the same boat. Through the prism of our friends it's clear that when households face high child care costs, the first response is not "switch houses," it's "find new childcare arrangements." When we hear our peers talk about why they're moving out of town, nobody mentions daycare costs or the opportunity to scramble for childcare in three week stints four times per year (Wake County year-round schools).  They mention housing costs, and secondarily, proximity to employment. 

Patrick,I respectfully submit that we can come to different conclusions without either of us being wrong. To me, it means that we need a better understanding of the various options before jumping to any conclusions, especially when it comes to something as critical as the rural buffer.  Over the years, this community has enacted several policies and programs for making housing more affordable. Re-vitalizing downtown was one of those programs and it gave us Greenbridge and Lot 5 with their million dollar condos. It also gave us the NCD policy to protect Northside from gentrification, and now we're revisiting the NCD conditions for that neighborhood, and many are unhappy with the evolution of NCDs altogether. I like the fact that the plan that stimulated this discussion includes conducting an inventory of affordable homes. I just wish that someone cared as much about middle-income (potential) residents as they do about the lower-income (potential) residents.

Is without a doubt one of three biggest issues facing our town .

It's been an issue for many, many years & elections and will be for many to come.It is in the Issue Hall of Fame right next to "closing the achievement gap". Both of these issues are symptoms of an economy that does not work for everyone. Meanwhile, we keep looking for solutions that do not alter the status quo. These solutions help, and certainly benefit many deserving people, but we will never solve the problem without a major shift in how we allow our economy to be manipulated. 

With respect to affordable housing, why does the economy seem to work better, or less bad if you prefer, for towns surrounding us than for us?

If somebody isn't getting paid enough money to afford a house, they can't own one. The captains of industry choose to under-pay people. If affordable housing is important to them, the local Chamber of Commerce should lead a living wage campaign.

If it was just a matter of how much people get paid then people that can't afford to live and buy a home in CH/C wouldn't be able to do those things in outlying areas either.  But instead they can, at least to a greater extent than they can in CH/C.   How much money you get paid is only 50% of the equation.  How much you can buy with that money is the other 50%.The reality is that the way our local area has developed has caused our cost of living to be very high relative to other areas. High cost of living = Hostility to those without a lot of money.

One reason it seems like housing is more affordable in other communities is that other communities have a more diverse economy. Chapel Hill/Carrboro and even Orange County are largely built upon employment by the university and the med school/hospital, neither of which pay taxes and both of which employ people who work here in town but buy their stuff and their services elsewhere. That's why there's been such a push for economic development. It's all tied together.

UNC may not pay taxes but they are a net (big) draw of money to this area, both directly and indirectly.  UNC isn't the problem.  UNC provides a problem in the sense that they increase demand to live here but they more than make up for that in the multitude of income opportunities that bring in.  The reason those people buy their stuff and services elsewhere is that we don't give a good option for buying them here. The bottom line is that other places around here accomodate "affordable housing" better than we do and I can't see that changing.  

 A slight correction to the discussionAt the Home Trust, right now,  on average,  our homebuyers are at about 65-68% of AMI.   We serve families  up to 80% AMI, with only a small percentage of homes available  to families  from 80-100% AMI.  We don't serve anybody above 100% AMI at the time of purchase.    Right now the  80% AMI max is

  • 38,000 for one person
  • 43,400 for two people
  • 48,850 for three
  • 54,250 for four

we do not allow anyone to purchase whose housing costs will be greater than 30% of their gross monthly income.  Housing costs include the loan principal, interest, taxes, insurance, homeowner association dues, the monthly ground lease fee (12.00 for a  condo/townhome, 24.00 for a detached home)   and a savings fund for major replacements such as the roof and HVAC unit.   

Tonight at the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting, the Affordable Housing Strategy will be presented for discussion and adoption by the council.Here is information about the strategy including the strategy itself and the memo sent to the Council members. This item is the 4th item up for discussion, so I do not anticipate it coming up much before 8 pm this evening.I will live tweet about it either on the OP Twitter feed or my own (Mollsdemarco) depending on what is working for me.


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