Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is accepting applications until Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. for some of the first openings in Weavers Grove, a new mixed-income housing development.
Located off Sunrise Road, the community will have 237 residential units, with 101 homes built by Habitat. Garman Homes and White Oak Properties, Inc. will build the remaining homes and condominiums, according to Laine Staton, vice president of homeowner services at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.
Weavers Grove will also include a community center, community garden, playground, splash pad, dog park, pavilion gathering place, coffee shop and basketball court.
“I think being able to have places where you can bring people together,” Staton said. “I think there's really an advantage to that because when we learn, and we care about the people that we're living with, we also have a safer community.”
In this application cycle, about 200 people have applied to be eligible to purchase one of six homes that will be ready to purchase this spring, Staton said.
Since Habitat will only be able to build about 20 homes a year, it intends to offer 10 homes for application every six months, she said.
For Weavers Grove, Habitat provides housing loans to people earning between $30,000 and $80,000 approximately. This range can vary depending on a household’s size, Staton said.
“We're looking very deliberate about how to develop a diverse community — both high-income, low-income families — and how to develop an identity and build trust with the rest of this development,” she said.
Habitat says on its website that Weavers Grove will provide community benefits, including business attraction, economic growth, increased community engagement and reduced healthcare costs.
Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said Habitat’s partnership with commercial developers to combine market-rate and affordable housing helps make the community around the development and that of the Town more complete.
One of the commercial developers, Garman Homes, is building market-rate houses from its Roshambo Collection, which offers two to three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms within an area range of 1,500 to 1,900 square feet, according to Anna Wilson, the director of marketing for Garman Homes. She said these homes have a colorful design, come with front porches and have good curb appeal.
“Once we build homes side by side, we work really hard to make sure that we're building attractive streetscapes and the exterior,” Wilson said. “Just to give you that feel and sense of being home right when you drive in the driveway.”
Habitat homes are made affordable through their zero percent-equivalent loans. Garman Homes is providing market-rate homes, but they are hoping to keep costs low, Wilson said.
“That's something that we've really stood strong about — creating the sense of community and really offering new opportunities for Chapel Hill homebuyers at price ranges that are lower than today's median home price,” Wilson said. “With that, we've looked at fine-tuning some of these plans. But the fact that we'll be able to build affordable homes in Chapel Hill, size from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, two to three bedrooms, it's really unheard of.”
Nate Broman-Fulks, assistant director for affordable housing and community connections at the Town of Chapel Hill, said Weavers Grove is near the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district and will have many public transit options available to its residents.
“One of the challenges we have in Chapel Hill is that many folks who work here — whether (at) UNC, UNC healthcare, restaurants, supermarkets, any place in town — are unable to afford to live here,” Parker said. “And I think that's unfortunate for them because it imposes costs, in terms of transportation (for those) who today have longer commutes, and it's bad for the community.”
Staton said they plan to begin "going vertical" and building structures at Weavers Grove in May.
From there, she said she anticipates Habitat will complete the project by 2028.
“We'll see, hopefully, a continued increase in a more affordable community allowing people of different backgrounds and demographics to all come together and enjoy living in Chapel Hill,” Broman-Fulks said. “It could serve as a model for future development.”
The application can be accessed on Habitat for Humanity of Orange County's website.
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