And on Wednesday, Pendergraft found himself at a meeting about proposed changes to zoning regulation and programs designed to help his troubled neighborhood.
“Why am I here today? ‘Cause I’m interested in my property and what I can do with it,” he said.
This open house informed the public about proposed changes to development regulation and explained programs designed to assist the Northside and Pine Knolls Neighborhood Conservation Districts.
The meeting drew citizens from conservation districts seeking more affordable housing and developers concerned that new regulation would harm their projects.
One developer, Mark Patmore, director of Mercia Residential Properties, said the current regulation limiting floor area to 1,750 square feet discourages families from moving into the neighborhood.
“I am not a proponent of the conservation district,” he said. “By encouraging these regulations they are actually taking away wealth from these families by devaluing their properties.”
The Northside neighborhood is historically one of the largest African-American communities in Chapel Hill but has seen a slow, but steady, uptick in gentrification brought on by a larger student population seeking better housing.
The number of African-Americans living in Northside has decreased from 1,159 in 1980 to 690 in 2010.