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Council to discuss revised housing policy

The Charlotte City Council tonight will discuss proposed changes to the city’s housing locational policy under which new subsidized multifamily rental units will be prohibited within certain neighborhoods.

If approved, the units would be illegal in neighborhood statistical areas labeled “transitioning” or “challenged.”

The changes would allow subsidized multifamily housing developments in any neighborhood to be rehabilitated, provided the rehabilitations do not add to the existing affordable-housing unit count.

Under the proposed changes, neighborhoods designated “stable,” a new development could only be built within half a mile of an existing development with more than 24 units if the total number of subsidized units in the NSA is less than 5 percent.

The policy, adopted in November 2001 and last amended in September 2003, guides the distribution of new developments for government-subsidized multifamily housing for households earning 60 percent or less than the area median income. The goal is to prevent affordable housing developments from being concentrated in a handful of areas but, rather, dispersed throughout the city.

Residents voiced worries about the policy during five public meetings held in July and August, including concerns about developments’ aesthetics and potential impacts on property values. Some wondered whether a locational policy is even necessary.

The policy discussion comes week after the council last week received a report, prepared for the Charlotte Housing Authority by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Studies and Extended Academic Programs, about the need for affordable housing in Mecklenburg County. The study showed that 49,053 renter households in the county are “cost-burdened,” or spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utility costs.

There will be a public hearing to discuss the policy updates at the Nov. 22 council meeting. The council will vote whether to approve the changes Dec. 13.

Caitlin Coakley can be reached at caitlin.coakley@mecktimes.com.

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