KJHburg

Affordable Housing in Charlotte

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Lets talk about affordable housing here.  Here are some recent articles about it

https://www.charlotteagenda.com/119873/even-charlotte-millionaires-care-affordable-housing/

From the Observer last fall   http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/development/article106505472.html

Article from Observer from Feb about opposition to low income housing in NW Charlotte  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article200997829.html

 

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I think one of the best ways to go forward with affordable housing is preserve what we have.  The city maybe needs a revolving fund to purchase older apartment complexes.  Building new affordable housing is expensive and the city needs to be more proactive and keeping what we have.  I absolutely think some affordable housing needs to be a part of the Eastland redeveloped not the majority but a part of the housing there.  The city owns the land there for crying out loud.  

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As a single, young Millennial, I would love to see more micro-apartments built. I don’t want a lot of space, nor do I want to pay extra for it. I don’t know if this would be a solution to affordable housing, but I do think cities would benefit from more choices. 

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14 minutes ago, Third Strike said:

As a single, young Millennial, I would love to see more micro-apartments built. I don’t want a lot of space, nor do I want to pay extra for it. I don’t know if this would be a solution to affordable housing, but I do think cities would benefit from more choices. 

This. Location/walkabikity/amenities > space in a cul-de-sac while being able to save and spend extra money on breweries and eating out. 

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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^There are 2 basic ways the affordable house shortage in Charlotte can be addressed.

1) Create incentives for developers to incorporate affordable housing units into their projects. Contractual agreements with new apartment projects coming online would require a specific number of units in any particular building be allocated for people that fall into the below category based on eligibility.

Requirements:

Proof of full-time employment (over 30 hours) for 6 months and income verification.

Your ability to pass credit, criminal and eviction background checks

Your annual gross income falls within the year’s Annual Income Limits Summary. 

Family Size: 1 Person      2 Persons        3 Person 4 Persons 5 Persons       6 Persons      7 Persons 8 Persons
Income:                 $37,650 $43,000 $48,400             $53,750         $58,050       $62,350        $66,650            $70,950

or

2) Repurpose all of these empty (or soon to be) malls around Charlotte that everyone keeps wanting to build skate parks and indoor zoos in.

Here is a fantastic example of an aging Providence, RI mall conversion and clearly shows what can be done with a little creativity....

https://www.curbed.com/2014/8/29/10054364/americas-first-shopping-mall-is-now-stuffed-with-micro-homes

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Even Amazon is proactively discussing how to develop / preserve affordable housing with the finalist cities for HQ2: Atlanta, Denver, Newark, Toronto, etc.

Below are excerpts from a NY Times story, "One Goal of Amazon's HQ2: Learn the Lessons of Seattle," by Nick Wingfield, April 29, 2018.

"In Atlanta, the company spoke to a representative of the Westside Future Fund, a nonprofit working to prevent displacement in an area being redeveloped. The fund will pay for the increases in property taxes for residents who have lived in the area since at least 2016 so that they’re not priced out of their homes."  "In Amazon’s visit to Toronto, the company discussed its potential impact on the labor market and the affordability of housing, said Ed Clark, the business adviser to Kathleen Wynne, the premier of the province of Ontario."  “We’re all concerned about what could be gentrification or displacement, how do we deal with that,” said Aisha Glover, president and chief executive of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, which is involved in the New Jersey city’s bid."  "Adam Sedo, a spokesman for Amazon, confirmed that public transport and housing affordability were important topics in conversations with the finalist locations ...."

Link to the full NY Times story:   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/29/technology/amazon-hq2-seattle.html

Edited by QCxpat
correct verb tense
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On 4/30/2018 at 2:22 AM, UPNoDa said:

2) Repurpose all of these empty (or soon to be) malls around Charlotte that everyone keeps wanting to build skate parks and indoor zoos in.

This is a big one. Suburbia has given us tons and tons of underused space, and we can make use of it... a typical house in many Asian cities is around 5m wide (roughly 16.5 feet) and 10m deep (roughly 33 feet) for a "base plate" of 50m(540 sq. ft.). Make the house two or three stories and it can comfortably accommodate a family. The size of one parking space in a typical parking lot is 2.5m wide by 5.8m deep. That is to say: You can build a house in the typical Asian urban form in the space occupied by four parking spaces in a normal parking lot. How many of those types of houses could be built on the footprint of the former Eastland Mall, or some of our unused strip malls?

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^100% correct.  A few years back, my mother-in-law moved into an apartment in the old Garner High School that was renovated for 55+.  Fun Fact: she actually attended high school there in the 1940's .

There are TONS of empty space around Charlotte that could be utilized for affordable housing,  but city leaders need to be just that "leaders" and not followers.  It's mid boggling in 2018 to think we have over 16,000 families  on a wait list for affordable housing. 

 

 

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That is why I can't believe the Eastland city owned site is not proposed for hundreds of units of affordable housing the city owns the land for crying out loud.  They could build market rate and affordable housing all mixed in with some commercial to serve the area.  Instead we still have big grandiose plans some are which are good but for the life of me I don't know why affordable housing is not a big part of the plans there.  CMS does have some underutilized schools that could be redeveloped.  

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6 hours ago, asthasr said:

This is a big one. Suburbia has given us tons and tons of underused space, and we can make use of it... a typical house in many Asian cities is around 5m wide (roughly 16.5 feet) and 10m deep (roughly 33 feet) for a "base plate" of 50m(540 sq. ft.). Make the house two or three stories and it can comfortably accommodate a family. The size of one parking space in a typical parking lot is 2.5m wide by 5.8m deep. That is to say: You can build a house in the typical Asian urban form in the space occupied by four parking spaces in a normal parking lot. How many of those types of houses could be built on the footprint of the former Eastland Mall, or some of our unused strip malls?

Totally. My concern would be creating a new era of "housing projects" of condensed poverty. So the trick would be to potentially partner with private developers to do mixed-income, and be sure to create a mixed-use area around it. Then hopefully buses can have stops there.

11 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

That is why I can't believe the Eastland city owned site is not proposed for hundreds of units of affordable housing the city owns the land for crying out loud.  They could build market rate and affordable housing all mixed in with some commercial to serve the area.  Instead we still have big grandiose plans some are which are good but for the life of me I don't know why affordable housing is not a big part of the plans there.  CMS does have some underutilized schools that could be redeveloped.  

Agreed.

Though the tough part of Eastland that I didn't think of til now is that old buildings are the best way to build anything with true "affordability." It's why old buildings are the easiest way for small businesses to thrive. And Eastland would be full new development. So I would imagine old malls actually would be great for renovation?
There are many studies that show cities with a bigger mix of old/new buildings guarantee a more thriving and equitable socio-economic culture. At some point we'll have to stop tearing down things, even if some of them are suburban dreck, otherwise the next generation will have lost all their potential reno projects.

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23 minutes ago, SgtCampsalot said:

Totally. My concern would be creating a new era of "housing projects" of condensed poverty. So the trick would be to potentially partner with private developers to do mixed-income, and be sure to create a mixed-use area around it. Then hopefully buses can have stops there.

Absolutely. The goal should be to expand housing supply, which will naturally cause prices to fall... mandate a couple of truly affordable (read: cheap) properties per block, build a light rail spur to the neighborhood(!), zone for mixed use, and see what happens. My bet would be: good things.

Edited by asthasr

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One of the best things Charlotte can do right now is preserve older class B apartment complexes from being bought and bulldozed or upgraded so much the rents rise substantially.  These older class B properties are NOAH naturally occurring affordable housing.   Not everyone needs a pet spa, granite and stainless kitchen, and every conceivable upgrade that many of these newer class AA apartments offer. 

My first apartment in Charlotte has now been knocked over and rebuilt.  (where Morrison at SouthPark is now) however it was basic apartment nothing fancy and yes there were fancier ones more expensive ones nearby. 

Edited by KJHburg
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18 hours ago, asthasr said:

This is a big one. Suburbia has given us tons and tons of underused space, and we can make use of it... a typical house in many Asian cities is around 5m wide (roughly 16.5 feet) and 10m deep (roughly 33 feet) for a "base plate" of 50m(540 sq. ft.). Make the house two or three stories and it can comfortably accommodate a family. The size of one parking space in a typical parking lot is 2.5m wide by 5.8m deep. That is to say: You can build a house in the typical Asian urban form in the space occupied by four parking spaces in a normal parking lot. How many of those types of houses could be built on the footprint of the former Eastland Mall, or some of our unused strip malls?

Ummm.  It's not just 'suburbia'...   People need to find the courage to call out people tearing down affordable housing near the city center to build 'suburban style' homes on those large lots that also happen to be near mass transit.  Just because someone builds a $750k home that's walkable for them to transit and food/drink does not mean it's urban.  It's a suburban house with lipstick.  

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15 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

Ummm.  It's not just 'suburbia'...   People need to find the courage to call out people tearing down affordable housing near the city center to build 'suburban style' homes on those large lots that also happen to be near mass transit.  Just because someone builds a $750k home that's walkable for them to transit and food/drink does not mean it's urban.  It's a suburban house with lipstick.  

Also true. Preach! Each of those home lots could have 2 to 4 housing units on them.


But pragmatically, if they still want a by-right project, they should all have Accessory Dwellings built in the back yard. These areas need housing stock by any means necessary.

 

Edited by SgtCampsalot
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12 hours ago, UPNoDa said:

It's mid boggling in 2018 to think we have over 16,000 families  on a wait list for affordable housing. 

But it's not.  Charlotte adds about 20,000 people per year, every year.  The only new development is high end and the redevelopment that is mostly taking place is demolishing a 1,200 sf house that a low income family used to live in with a 5,000 sf house that a wealthy family lives in.  The density is not changing.  That's the problem.  

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encouraging by zoning, garage apartments, casitas, accessory dwellings whatever you want to call them could lead to more available housing.   These smaller studio apartments in peoples backyards for their relatives, tenants, parents  or kids etc.  Of course this would also increase density.  Also provides a source of income to homeowners.   We do need more smaller micro apartments that are very basic.  (Affordable housing is a nationwide problem as a lot of the affordable housing stock is being replaced with higher end properties)  Local Tax incentives for apartment owners keeping  properties within a certain rental range could help.  

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1 hour ago, SgtCampsalot said:

Also true. Preach! Each of those home lots could have 2 to 4 housing units on them.
But pragmatically, if they still want a by-right project, they should all have Accessory Dwellings built in the back yard. These areas need housing stock by any means necessary.

1

What are your thoughts on using eminent domain?  

Was at a festival last weekend and took the blue line back from the Parkwood Station.  Directly across from this station is a bunch of new construction, as well as, a bunch of very tiny homes on E. 18th and E. 19th street.  

If we truly have an affordable housing crisis in Charlotte why shouldn't the city use eminent domain to acquire low-density properties and turn around the use to high-density?  Especially when they are steps from a billion dollar plus light rail investment.  I took a quick look of 13 properties on these streets.  For 2.2 acres of prime transit adjacent land, you have just 13 units with 38 bedrooms and ~15k of living space.   This same land could house 200 apartments.  Even if just 15% were affordable, that's a 130% increase in affordable units.  If you made it 30% affordable that's a 260% increase.  

 

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Edited by cjd5050

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1 hour ago, cjd5050 said:

Ummm.  It's not just 'suburbia'...   People need to find the courage to call out people tearing down affordable housing near the city center to build 'suburban style' homes on those large lots that also happen to be near mass transit.  Just because someone builds a $750k home that's walkable for them to transit and food/drink does not mean it's urban.  It's a suburban house with lipstick.  

I count that as "suburban," too, to be honest.

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I am really conflicted by the affordable housing debate in Charlotte. While it seems clear there is a problem in some areas, there are tons of very affordable properties in less desirable areas (do a zillow search on 28208 North of 85 to see lots of sub $100k houses). The desirable intown suburban hoods certainly haven't see any density increases, but adjacent formerly industrial areas have generally seen an explosion of multifamily (Southend, Central around the CSX, etc.). I am not suggesting any of that falls into the affordable category, but they do allow for multi-family elsewhere in town to cycle down to lower income groups (assuming that they don't get KJHburg'ized -- razed and replaced with high income stuff).

Given our substantial inventory of cheap houses I think we need to redefine the terms of the Charlotte affordable housing debate.  I don't really think we need more cheap housing (we have plenty). Instead I think we should work to make the neighborhoods where affordable housing is located better suit the needs of residents (e.g. improve school quality, accessibility and amenities).  Additionally, making infill cheaper and easier (mostly by removing the overhead created by rezoning) would help to create additional properties which can be cycled down to lower income groups.

(having the UDO allow for intown SF neighborhoods replace single units with duplexes (or quads) by right would also help over the long term)

 

 

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Quote

A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help. Here's how it went wrong

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-housing-bill-failure-equity-groups-20180502-story.html

An interesting article for sure... but goes straight into blaming "white privilege" as if race matters in solving/addressing a poverty issue!

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44 minutes ago, kermit said:

I am really conflicted by the affordable housing debate in Charlotte. While it seems clear there is a problem in some areas, there are tons of very affordable properties in less desirable areas (do a zillow search on 28208 North of 85 to see lots of sub $100k houses).

There are many problems with this, though. First is the "big block of poverty" effect. If you have a large concentration of poverty, the crime levels are high, and so the strategy of a "mixed approach" is riskier because many people will not buy in the area--particularly families with children, who need the schools and who do more to set the tone of a neighborhood than transient renters or less active seniors. Second is the problem of gentrification, where people feel like they're being driven out of their homes by a tide of socioeconomically more powerful people. That is: if North Tryon suburbs suddenly start gentrifying, it can easily be too little (and thus gather no momentum) or too much (and thus engender resentment and anger).

20 minutes ago, Scribe said:

An interesting article for sure... but goes straight into blaming "white privilege" as if race matters in solving/addressing a poverty issue!

It does. Race absolutely plays into poverty issues in this country because black and hispanic people are far more likely to be poor. It makes poverty more obvious and more difficult to eradicate. If you take an average white person and drive them through a working class white neighborhood, they might not even be able to tell the difference between that and a middle class white neighborhood. Take the same person through a middle class black neighborhood and they'll often think they're in the middle of the projects. Furthermore, things like YIMBY (with whom I agree strongly) suffer from racial animus because the people who would benefit are often skeptical of the motivations of people out to help them, with good historical justification for this skepticism.

Dismissing this line of analysis is not productive.

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4 minutes ago, asthasr said:

Dismissing this line of analysis is not productive.

What analysis are we talking about here?

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1 minute ago, Scribe said:

What analysis are we talking about here?

The article you posted. (And the relevance of race to poverty/housing.)

Edited by asthasr

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10 minutes ago, asthasr said:

Race absolutely plays into poverty issues in this country because black and hispanic people are far more likely to be poor. It makes poverty more obvious and more difficult to eradicate. If you take an average white person and drive them through a working class white neighborhood, they might not even be able to tell the difference between that and a middle class white neighborhood. Take the same person through a middle class black neighborhood and they'll often think they're in the middle of the projects.

Basically, you are arguing that poor people of color lack the ability to maintain their own property in comparison to poor people that are white... to which I would say that is complete bullcrap. You would have a much stronger argument in saying that what groups of people value shows in how they live (no matter the income)!

Is it "white privilege" of the lower class white neighborhoods to keep their neighborhood neat and well kept?

I still cannot understand why certain people in this country want to always fall on race baiting?

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16 minutes ago, asthasr said:

There are many problems with this, though. First is the "big block of poverty" effect. If you have a large concentration of poverty, the crime levels are high, and so the strategy of a "mixed approach" is riskier because many people will not buy in the area--particularly families with children, who need the schools and who do more to set the tone of a neighborhood than transient renters or less active seniors. Second is the problem of gentrification, where people feel like they're being driven out of their homes by a tide of socioeconomically more powerful people. That is: if North Tryon suburbs suddenly start gentrifying, it can easily be too little (and thus gather no momentum) or too much (and thus engender resentment and anger).

You are completely right, those problems are big ones. But, its also a big problem adding affordable housing in affluent areas thanks to NIMBYs and the desire of developers to maximize rents. I guess I am just musing that it might be possible to take the "mixed approach" in poorer neighborhoods  --  it certainly won't be easy, but the Hoskins Mill project offers a very tentative example of doing this. Why shouln't the city spend its money to address crime, schools and amenities in areas that sorely need these improvements? This will eventually trigger gentrification, but the only way to minimize the impact of gentrification in high-growth places is to build -lots- of housing and fully utilize the limited intown space you already have. By giving some neighborhoods a pass on density increases you are just amping up the gentrificaiton / affordable housing problem elsewhere.

Gentrification is a very complicated problem, and I don't want to diminish its importance. However I gotta wonder, would residents of Thomasboro be worse off if the neighborhood improved around them? In the short run everybody would benefit. Longer term, some current residents would get displaced further out, but what if they ended up in newer, bigger places with equal levels of transit access? Thomasboro currently provides a pretty low level of amenities to residents, I don't think that would be hard to replicate elsewhere. 

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