All posts in category Housing

Horsetrading at the Council Corral

Two weeks ago, Chapel Hill hired a new planning director, Ben Hitchings, who came to the April 11 Town Council meeting. Much to my surprise, he did not resign immediately; in fact, he participated in our work session two days later. That says he’s a man undaunted by challenges. In a nutshell — we embarrassed […]

Aging in town

We know we won’t live forever, But most of us believe we’ll stay spry until our last day on earth. We convince ourselves that if we take a brisk walk daily, there won’t come a time when we can’t take that walk, that if we live a healthy lifestyle, we won’t ever have to battle […]

… and bathrooms for all

Now I feel bad. At a recent Town Council meeting I clarified to my colleagues my view that the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance — the town law that requires subdivision builders to make 15% of the homes affordable based on Area Median Income — does not mean developers must provide luxury housing to people who can’t […]

On ice

The calls started coming in Sunday before the sun had reached high noon. Constituents who live on what’s known as “tertiary streets” phoned me because they knew I’d understand their cabin fever. All of us were iced in, and our good humor had begun to fray. Tertiary streets are those out-of-the-way neighborhoods that are the […]

Excluding Inclusionary Zoning?

Since when did affordable housing mean homes for people who earn 100% of the Area Median Income? Chapel Hill passed the Inclusioinary Zoning Ordinance in 2010 that 15% of all new for-sale housing units built must be affordable to people earning no more than 80% or 65% of the AMI (the affordable units split evenly […]

The big money at stake

This election boils down to economic theory. One theory, held by the incumbents and a challenger who as an advisory board member voted in lockstep with them, aims to add enough luxury housing filled with high-wealth individuals that national chain stores will open branches in town. This group is banking on sales tax revenue and […]

Who determines livability?

Elkins Hills homeowners and renters turned out in force last Wednesday to convince council members to grant the protections of a Neighborhood Conservation District from what they see as the too-fast pace of development townwide. But one lone property owner and landlord gave council pause when he asked about how an NCD should be used. […]

How about yours?

Community members at last Monday’s Town Council meeting turned the “not in my backyard” philosophy on its head, asking instead, “Why not your backyard?” At the Sept. 21 meeting, developers presented their proposed plan for Amity Station, a tall apartment building on West Rosemary Street where Breadman’s sits now. The parcel is in the Northside […]

Putting B&B’s to rest

When I read town staff’s original proposal for an ordinance to allow bed-and-breakfasts in the historic district, my first thought was: We’re eating our seed corn. In August, town staff unveiled a plan to allow homes in the historic district to convert to B&B’s of up to 12 bedrooms and as many as 25 guests […]

Just because they can

Last week a man carried a loaded assault rifle into the Atlanta airport while he dropped off his daughter for her flight. Georgia passed a law last year that allows permitted gun owners to carry loaded weapons in an airport, as long as they don’t go through the TSA security checkpoint. The man said he […]