Sure, 9,500 affordable housing units sounds promising until you realize that because of rising land values, most of them will disappear once the light-rail route is built.Two meetings next week will get down to brass tacks on solving both the cultural and financial aspects of the affordable housing problem in Durham. One important component of any affordable housing plan is to mix the market-rate and the subsidized units; this avoids the problem of “segregating poverty,” as it’s known in planning parlance, and creating “LULUs.” What’s a LULU? A locally unwanted land use. Yes, affordable housing has been considered a LULU because, according to a UNC report presented to Council last week, they are believed to attract “other undesirable uses or lower property values.” Unfortunately, the city scheduled its event at the same time of the one sponsored by People’s Alliance/People’s Durham. I’m choosing the latter, because Mel Norton of the People’s Alliance, formerly with Downtown Durham, Inc., is releasing key original research on rising costs of renting and owning a home. And from what I’ve heard, the news is not good.
Existing affordable housing units near future station areas
Units that are subsidized, such as public housing
Units that aren’t subsidized, meaning rents could rise
Acres of publicly owned land near future transit stations that is redevelopable
Acres determined to be “somewhat” feasible for affordable housing
Acres determined to be “more” feasible
“More” feasible acres near proposed Alston Avenue station
Near proposed Dillard Street station
Have your say
Public discussion of gentrification and neighborhood change in central Durham, plus release of original research on rising costs of homes.
Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m.
Center for Responsible Lending, 302 W Main St. | Sponsored by People’s Alliance and People’s Durham
Public affordable housing and transit workshop. On the agenda: legal framework for affordable housing incentives and requirements in North Carolina, information on the financing of affordable housing projects and tools to expand affordable housing in future rail transit areas
Tuesday, May 19, 6 p.m.
Durham Arts Council, PSI Theater, 120 Morris St. | Sponsored by the City-County Planning Department
This article appeared in print with the headline “The high cost of living in lulu-land “