All posts in category Housing

Economics of affordability

A council member told of going to dinner at a new restaurant in town and having to wait a half-hour for a table. Initially, he took that as a good sign of how well the new business was faring. But once he was seated, he noticed that several tables had been removed since the last […]

Conflicting Priorities

Bonnie Hauser, founder of Orange County Voice, shares her insight into factors that affect housing affordability: Last month the N.C. General Assembly (NCGA) took away Orange County’s authority to collect impact fees on new home construction. It was a low blow by Raleigh politicians but brings new insights into the important topic of affordability. Thirty […]

High-Rent District

I sat on the stoop of my 1940 Cape Cod and surveyed the view — one-bedroom brick-ranch duplexes and frumpy 1930s bungalows, SUVs spilling off gravel driveways onto lawns of hard-packed red clay tufted with weeds — and thought, “Wow, I’ve made it. I now live in the high-rent section of town.” According to a […]

Better planning for affordability

Last year, when Orange County commissioners proposed a $5 million bond to be used for affordable housing, I pushed for a plan. The county commissioners instead offered a slogan — 1,065 homes for $5 million — that was so unlikely to be achieved that it didn’t rise to the level of a goal. Trying to […]

Building community

When the Habitat for Humanity staffer asked, “Who’s not afraid of heights?” I raised my hand. I should have thought it through. But at 8:30 Saturday morning, with the temperatures still in the 70s and standing in the shade of a large, leafy tree, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the unroofed part […]

Use housing market forces to help

So much for the law of supply and demand. Council has approved a plethora of high-end market-rate apartments because a majority of council members believe that flooding the market with high-rent units will saturate housing demand and eventually inhibit rent hikes. These council members ignore the fact that in Chapel Hill, as in most cities, […]

Funding Our Bubble

Chapel Hill’s bubble has been both boasted about and blasted, depending on the politics of the critic. We have a reputation of being a haven for bleeding-heart liberals, a sanctuary city in sentiment and practice, albeit not codified. But a sneak peek at the proposed Trump administration budget indicates that our bubble is about to […]

DOLRT’s Cost-Plus

If anything could sway me toward taking on the crushing debt of the Durham-Orange County Light Rail it would be the promise of getting some affordable housing in return. And sure enough, in its presentation about planning DOLRT stations, GoTriangle reps dangled that yarn ball before Town Council — including affordable housing in the mix […]

Welcome to the club

Some of us spend so much time thinking about stormwater runoff and traffic jams and other indications of overdevelopment that we forget quality of life goes beyond whether an apartment has granite countertops or who has to shovel the sidewalks. So I consider it a gift that I was invited to a tour of Club […]

To a Healthy New Year

My husband and I gave each other matching colds for Christmas this year, not the gifts we had intended, but a result of getting out and into the community more than I have in years past. When it comes to germs, especially in the holiday season, I’ve tried not to give back. And that means […]