On Tuesday, the Carrboro Town Council adopted a proposal to use Town-owned land for affordable housing.
Anne-Marie Vanaman, management specialist for the Carrboro Housing and Community Services department, said the draft comprehensive plan identified a housing gap of 1,079 units in Carrboro, which includes 314 ownership units affecting households earning $75,000 or less, as well as 765 rental units affecting households earning $25,000.
“Creating affordable housing on land that’s not used for other public purposes offers us many benefits,” Vanaman said. “It gives the Town the ability to prioritize goals like racial equity and climate action within the housing development process. It also helps us ensure that the end product is a community-designed product.”
Vanaman said the Town identified three Town-owned properties from 47 total locations for potential affordable housing sites based on research from 2015.
The three parcels identified are:
- Crest Street, south of Hillcrest Avenue, which is zoned for six units, or nine with a density bonus
- 1814-1816 Pathway Drive, which is two parcels zoned for 23 collective units or 34 with a density bonus
- 106 Hill St., which was rezoned in September to allow the construction of three homes
Currently, the Hill Street parcel is being developed for three homes by Pee Wee Homes. The Town of Chapel Hill gave the Crest Street property to the Town of Carrboro in 2003 to use as affordable housing.
The best practices were broken up into four steps: inventory and assessment, community engagement, request for proposal and development review process, and expedited review process.
In total, the plan is expected to take 23 months from adoption to the beginning of construction, not including funding requirements or other needs that could make it longer.
The council unanimously passed a motion to approve the plan. Vanaman said construction on the next parcel could begin this spring.
During the discussion, council members Sammy Slade and Randee Haven-O’Donnell mentioned the importance of integrating future development into the Community Climate Action Plan.
“Rather than working reactively, proactively looking at what are the things that we're looking for, the green neighborhood since we're essentially creating enclaves,” Haven-O’Donnell said.
Mayor Pro Tem Susan Romaine also brought up the issue of the limited number of Town-owned parcels that are suitable for affordable housing. Slade later expanded on the possible acquisition of land for affordable housing.
“The other opportunity is in terms of actual property acquisition," Slade said. "Let’s be thinking about having the land with which to do things with and putting that money up."
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