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Affordable housing remains top priority in Chapel Hill
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014
by Staff Reports

An affordable housing development proposed for Legion Road remains a top community priority, in spite of recent news that its tax credit application was unsuccessful.

The Town of Chapel Hill has set aside 8.5 acres of property for the development in the newly established Ephesus Fordham District. The plan is to develop two rental communities – Greenfield Place, 84 apartments for working families, and Greenfield Commons, about 60 units for senior citizens.

"Affordable housing is a critical need for our town, and this setback does not change our commitment to an exciting opportunity to provide housing for seniors and low-income families in the Ephesus Fordham District," Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said. "We have to keep working at it."

The DHIC of Raleigh, a nonprofit housing organization that provides affordable rental housing, applied for state Low Housing Income Tax Credit funds. Due to an oversight in the application submission, the N.C. Housing Finance Agency eliminated the project from the competition for tax credits. The DHIC intends to resubmit the application next January with the accidentally omitted commitment letter verifying its fiscal contribution toward the project.

DHIC President Gregg Warren said the organization deeply regrets the omission in what he characterized as a "worthy and competitive project." However, it is commonplace for developments of this size and scope to take years before ground is broken.

"This is an unfortunate setback, but it is not unusual to take two or three years for such projects to move forward," Warren said. "It would not be the first development that was unsuccessful the first time it was submitted for funding."

The Chapel Hill 2020 Plan and the 2011 Affordable Housing Strategy set a goal to create a range of housing options for current and future residents. Partnering with nonprofit housing providers like DHIC to develop a low-income housing tax credit project on town-owned land was the top recommendation identified in the Affordable Rental Housing Strategy adopted by the Council in February. Affordable housing consistently ranks as a top concern expressed by residents in the biennial Community Survey.



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