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Meeting the Need for Housing

Meeting the Need for Housing

Meeting the Need for Housing

The Complete Community Initiative will help the Town of Chapel Hill Determine Where and How to Grow

Prepared by Katie Loovis on 09/15/2022

Complete Community is an initiative of the Town of Chapel Hill in response to an important housing report (2021), that identified the projected housing needs for the Town from 2020-2040 and answered the question, "Are we building too much housing?" (p. 1). 

The short answer, according to the research team, is no. In fact, the study found that Chapel Hill needs to increase its average annual housing production by nearly 500 units per year (35 percent over that of the 2010s). This figure equates to adding approximately "one Carraway Village every year" (p. 8). 

The report continued with an analysis of "what drives the Chapel Hill housing market, the town's unmet needs, fundamental decisions to be made, and the next steps in making those decisions" (p. 1). As far as next steps, the Town Council was presented three options: 

  1. "The first option is to choose not to grow, something other college towns like Boulder and Palo Alto have done. The consequences would include higher housing prices, less social diversity, fewer middle-income jobs, and difficulty attracting faculty and staff. Gentrification in Carrboro would likely drive UNC students living off-campus back into Chapel Hill, displacing service workers there. 
  2. The second option is to improve the planning process and create new neighborhoods. That will not only keep down housing costs but help the town achieve its goals for climate change. 
  3. The third option is to continue regulating growth as it is now, approving development project-by-project rather than planning for neighborhoods as a whole. This is the worst option, for if the town does not change its approach, housing costs will continue to rise even as it loses its sense of place" (p. 11). 

Council decided to improve the planning process and launched "Complete Community."  (Watch the video of the presentation and discussion of the housing report findings). 

The Complete Community Initiative is designed as a proactive process of "meeting the need" for housing in Chapel Hill. "The Town of Chapel Hill is interested in identifying shared interests around a new approach to housing that clarifies where and how to build to be inclusive, sustainable, and an economically competitive community."  

Going forward, a dialogue is underway with community leaders and a pilot project will be proposed that demonstrates this new approach. Town Council is scheduled to receive an update during their regular council meeting on September 28, 2022

If you would like to get involved, please contact the Steering Committee, which includes Mayor Pam Hemminger; Council Members Jess Anderson, Tai Huynh, and Michael Parker; Town of Chapel Hill Manager Maurice Jones, and Town staff members Dwight Bassett and Colleen Willger

Like what you read? Read more on "Our Voice."  

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