A planned Hillsborough affordable housing project recently hit a roadblock. Collins Ridge, a 1,000 unit development, was set to have 88 affordable housing properties within the neighborhood. Now, those units are being relocated.

The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners initially approved a master plan of the Collins Ridge neighborhood in 2016.

Of the 1,000+ units, 88 were designated as affordable rental units through CASA, a local nonprofit which provides stable, affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk.

The developer and CASA originally identified three acres of land at the east end of Orange Grove Street which was well-qualified to receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the North Carolina Housing Finance. The site has since been determined to be unsuitable to qualify for the credit program.

Now, developers and CASA have requested to relocate the affordable housing units off-site, adjacent to the neighborhood.

At a recent Hillsborough Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners voiced their opinions about this change to the master plan.

Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver said the town needed to think about how to move forward with the affordable homes even if they aren’t in the Collins Ridge neighborhood.

“All parties are frustrated and a bit disappointed that this set of CASA homes has to be moved,” Weaver said.

Hillsborough Commissioner Kathleen Ferguson said she would like to see the three acres of land originally allotted to CASA become a green space.

“Moving CASA out leaves space,” Ferguson said. “What I’m saying is that doesn’t mean [Collins Ridge] get to add more houses.”

Ferguson said her main concern was making sure CASA was okay with changes to the affordable housing of the neighborhood.

“To me this is the most important feature of Collins Ridge,” Ferguson said. “This is critically important for our community. CASA is bringing something that our community does not have and if they are not fully satisfied, in my opinion, we have wasted time.”

Rachel Eberhard, the real estate developer for CASA, said the nonprofit wanted to make sure connectivity was still maintained between the affordable housing site and the larger development.

“We have a proposed connection down to Freeland Memorial,” Eberhard said. “We just really were concerned that we would just kind of be off to the side here and that our residents would not necessarily have as direct access to some of the amenities in the greater neighborhoods.”

Despite the change in location, Eberhard said CASA is content with the new site.

The Hillsborough Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution to change the master plan for Collins Ridge.


Photo via Town of Hillsborough

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