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Chapel Hill looks to make housing more affordable

Posted April 11, 2011

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— Town officials looking to expand affordable housing options in Chapel Hill are meeting with different segments of the community to establish some goals and priorities.

According to a residential market study completed in December, Chapel Hill has the most expensive housing in the Triangle, with a median home sale price of $323,300 last year. By comparison, the median price was $270,000 in Cary, $185,000 in Raleigh and $164,000 in Durham.

Loryn Clark, neighborhood and community services manager for Chapel Hill, said the limited amount of undeveloped land in the town and the lengthy approvals process for new developments are two reasons homes and apartments are pricier in Chapel Hill.

"It's really hard for people who do not have either double incomes or who earn under $100,000 a year to find something in Chapel Hill," said Coaina Nell.

Nell moved to Chapel Hill 23 years ago and fell in love with the town, but she sold her house after a divorce and could never find another house where she could move.

"I spent two months of going to probably 40 places in Chapel Hill, looking for something I could find, looking for something I could afford,” she said.

So, Nell moved to Hillsborough, and she still commutes 30 minutes each way to her job as business manager for a medical program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She said she recently started looking again for a way to move back to Chapel Hill.

"Everything that I could afford is either really old and falling apart in Chapel Hill or is more than $300,000," she said.

chapel hill Chapel Hill looks to make housing more affordable

Chapel Hill has tried to deal with housing costs before. One response was to require developers to set aside 15 percent of new projects for lower-priced homes.

Clark said officials are now trying to reach out to various groups to find new ideas to address the issue. Officials have met with local teachers, public safety personnel and people who work at UNC and UNC Hospitals, she said.

"Rather than just talk to the agencies themselves, we are actually talking to the people who are looking for housing to hear from them what their needs are,” she said.

Some people have suggested changing the income requirements for Community Home Trust, which administers the 15 percent set-asides in developments.

A community-wide meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. April 20 at Chapel Hill Town Hall.


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  • carrboroyouth Apr 12, 2011

    You must mean Greenbridge, NC Guy. (And I agree with you, it is the a scar on the face of Chapel Hill/ Carrboro; MANY residents agree with us)

  • teddyspaghetti Apr 12, 2011

    I find this story amusing! Everyone said the same thing about Cary....it's too expensive!.....people who work here can't afford to live here! And the folk in Chapel Hill cheered on the affordable housing crowd. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, somehow it's different...imagine that?!?

    "Bunny, can you imagine - they want us to allow the maid to live in OUR city!!"

  • ncguy Apr 11, 2011

    It took them years and years to allow the Greenbriar building permit.

    and I have to say it is the ugliest thing you have ever seen.
    No one will occupy space there because of the high rental rates and it's just ugly.

  • purplestorm Apr 11, 2011

    Simple Solution:
    Lower the Property Tax Rate!
    Chapel Hill and Carrboro have the HIGHEST property taxes in NC!
    With Housing prices and HIGH Property Taxes Now wonder people can't
    Afford to Live in Chapel Hill!
    On top of that NOW Orange Cty wants to RAISE the SALES TAX which already had been Voted DOWN by the Voters last FALL!

  • dennis8 Apr 11, 2011

    Chapel Hill has this discussion every few years. Same reason for high prices found, same solutions discussed. Comes down to the people who live in Chapel Hill like it the way it is. Would be refreshing if these folks would just admit they like the exclusive aura and move on.

  • ncguy Apr 11, 2011

    The chapel hill town council has done this with it's "no growth" policies. If you think it's hard to deal with the Cary Planning and Development is long and filled with years of red tape.

    No builder even wants to deal with that- not even talking about stipulations on design and eco friendly crazy.

  • Alex25 Apr 11, 2011

    Snobbish arrogant Liberals....Not in My Backyard........

  • whatelseisnew Apr 11, 2011

    "It's really hard for people who do not have either double incomes or who earn under $100,000 a year to find something in Chapel Hill," said Coaina Nell."

    Then you find someplace to move into that you can afford. The Government should not be stealing from other people to put you into Chapel Hill.

  • dfendrjimray Apr 11, 2011

    From each according to their ability...

  • meeper Apr 11, 2011

    I've got a great idea. Let the liberal govt. there pass new regulations for price controls on real estate. Also massive new taxes for everyone making over 50k a year to ensure fairness and equality. It isn't fair for the current owners to afford homes like this.