All posts in category Housing

Discretionary Zoning

Listen to Raleigh’s city attorney, Tom McCormick: “It is important to remember that when making a zoning decision, the council must consider all potential uses in a proposed district and cannot make a decision based on one specific use.” McCormick said council members have “wide discretion” in deciding whether to rezone a property for a […]

Ask the experts

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. When it comes to working on the problem of not enough affordable housing, town and county elected officials would do well to choose Door #3. At the joint board meeting of county commissioners and Town Council members on June 2, county commissioner Bernadette Pelissier suggested forming a […]

Do-good discount

You get what you incentivize, or so hopes Todd Neal, a Northside landlord. Neal sees the benefit of having more people in the neighborhood who care about the community. To attract those civic-minded tenants, he is offering a rent discount of up to $50 a month to tenants who will volunteer up to 6 hours […]

What makes a house historic?

Last week, the Historic District Commission reluctantly pulled the plug on a house in the Gimghoul Historic District by approving a request by the owners of 704 Gimghoul to demolish the home. The couple had purchased the house in March 2015 and had come to the HDC with a plan to make it live better […]

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 […]