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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Charlotte Says No To Affordable Housing 3rd Time This Year!

Charlotte City Council Says No To Low-Income Housing Again

The latest attempt to find a site for low-income housing failed Monday night when the City Council rejected a move that would have allowed 90 units in the Ayrsley community in southwest Charlotte.

The council voted 6-4 to reject a request that would have given the Charlotte Housing Partnership a waiver from rules guiding the location of public housing.

It was the third time in a year that efforts to locate affordable housing have failed.

In February, the Charlotte Housing Authority pulled out of a project in Ballantyne after neighborhood protests.

Last year the Housing Partnership scuttled plans to put low-income housing in Berewick after local opposition.

Monday's vote followed emotional arguments from Ayrsley residents and housing advocates alike.

Residents argued that their already diverse neighborhood is not stable enough to accommodate more low-income housing.

They opposed the Housing Partnership's request for a waiver from a rule that bars putting a low-income housing development within a half-mile of another.

The partnership wants to build 90 low-income apartments near Westinghouse Boulevard.

Advocates argued for the waiver.

"The bottom line is we need more affordable housing," said Bert Green, director of Habitat for Humanity and a board member of the Housing Partnership. "We need it now and we need it spread throughout the entire community."

Democrat Warren Turner, whose council district includes Ayrsley, argued against the waiver.

"The fact of the matter is we have more than our share of affordable housing," he said. "I'm not against affordable housing. What we are against tonight is a policy issue."

Jerry Meek, an attorney for the residents, cited the council's ongoing re-evaluation of its housing location guidelines. The city plans a series of public hearings on the guidelines this summer.

"Why go through the charade?" Meek asked council. "If you waive it under these circumstances you can waive it under any circumstances."

Mayor Anthony Foxx appeared to appeal for a delay in the vote. He cited statistics showing that 8,000 Charlotteans are homeless, including more than 3,200 children.

"No argument can be made that will overcome the emotion," he said. With no agreement, "then we end up where we are right now - 3,000 kids without a place to sleep."

But council went ahead and voted.

"I'm pleased they upheld the policy," said Chris Stulginsky, 30, an Ayrsley homeowner. "We all hope the CMHP is able to find a site for their project within the guidelines of city policy."

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Sources: McClatchy Newspapers, Google Maps

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