Affordable housing, transit on today's Durham planning agenda | News
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Affordable housing, transit on today's Durham planning agenda

Posted by on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 8:43 AM

A back yard view near Crescent Main Street, a luxury apartment complex that would be near a future light rail station. - LISA SORG
  • Lisa Sorg
  • A back yard view near Crescent Main Street, a luxury apartment complex that would be near a future light rail station.

Bedtime reading it's not, but key two reports are up for discussion this morning at the Durham Joint City-County Planning Committee.

The first deals with density bonuses for affordable housing. These incentives—allowing more units and less parking than the zoning would prescribe otherwise—help developers cut costs in return for building a greater number of affordable apartments.



Since the state Legislature makes it incredibly difficult for local governments to require affordable housing for rentals, cities have to get creative. In essence, density bonuses are carrots instead of sticks. (Or since both parties give a little, maybe they're carrot sticks.)

At 64 pages, the second report shows the publicly owned lots where affordable housing could be built within a half-mile of future light-rail stations. It concludes that 209 acres of publicly owned land are redevelopable—55 of it more feasible and 190 less so, usually because of parcel size.

 

Right now, there are 9,488 units of affordable housing in these areas, but, as the study points out, Ninth Street, South Square, Patterson Place, MLK Boulevard and Leigh Village station areas are all exclusively market rate. That means without wielding a carrot stick, these areas are unlikely to have affordable housing.

The study was produced by a team of graduate students from UNC Chapel Hill.


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