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Chapel Hill Town Council discusses affordable housing funding, LUMO rewrite

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Chapel Hill Town Hall sits on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. 

The Chapel Hill Town Council discussed the Community Development Block Grant, the Affordable Housing Funding Plan and updates on the Land Use Management Ordinance rewrite during its meeting on Wednesday.

What’s new?

  • During public comments, residents spoke about using a bond referendum to address the lack of affordable housing. 
    • George Barrett, the executive director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, said the council should invest in affordable housing to prevent further displacement of community members.
      • “Chapel Hill has been successful in investing in needed affordable housing projects the past several years with previous bond funds,” Barrett said. “We must keep the momentum going especially at a time when the cost of housing makes living here out of reach for so many people who are so integral to this town.”
  • Emily Holt, the Town's affordable housing manager, presented an overview of the Community Development Block Grant funding plan for 2024-25 — a federal program that intends to develop communities by providing housing and economic opportunities for community members earning low and moderate incomes.
    • Holt said objectives of the CDBG include benefiting low and moderate-income households, aiding in buying unoccupied buildings and meeting urgent needs associated with a national disaster. She also said homelessness case management, homebuyer assistance and neighborhood revitalization are planned to be funded by the grant.
  • Sarah Viñas, the Town's director of affordable housing and community connections, along with Holt, presented the Affordable Housing Funding Plan.
    • The recommended funding plan would allocate $1.66 million in local funding sources to develop 66 new affordable units and preserve 10 units of affordable housing in the community.
    • Delores Bailey, the executive director of EMPOWERment, Inc., thanked the council for supporting the PEACH Apartments project  — a 100 percent affordable, 10-unit multi-family development for renters earning between 30 and 60 percent of area median income.
      • Bailey urged funding for the Davie Circle project, supported by the plan, because it would encourage new projects.
      • “We want to continue to address low wealth-earning populations,” Bailey said.
  • Tasmaya Lagoo, principal planner for the Town, and Katherine Shor, senior planner for the Town, presented an update on the LUMO rewrite.
    • Lagoo said that over the summer, Town staff plans to refine the LUMO draft based on community feedback to understand how it will be translated into reality.
    • When considering affordable housing, Lagoo said two topics that are informing the decision-making process are housing incentives and small-scale projects.
    • Mayor Jess Anderson said she is looking forward to seeing how everything fits together as they work towards the Town's Complete Community vision.

What decisions were made?

  • The town council unanimously approved the Affordable Housing Funding Plan. Council member Paris Miller-Foushee was recused from the vote, due to her board positions on the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service and EmPOWERment. 

What’s next?

  • The next Chapel Hill Town Council meeting will be on May 1 at 6 p.m.

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