Affordable housing has been in high demand for many years in Chapel Hill. The town is working to bring some to the area with a project for Homestead Road and the design recently was brought to council for some comments.
The Town of Chapel Hill owns 14 acres of land at 2200 Homestead Road, which has been designated for affordable housing since 2017. Since then, the town has been developing plans to make it a mixed-income community with units set at below market price. Staff has worked with various organizations involved with affordable housing during the process, creating the Homestead Housing Collaborative to help achieve the project.
This group shared updates to its plan with town council, showing the latest draft design for a community with an estimated 120 units of townhomes, duplexes and apartments. The development would also provide amenities like playgrounds, a bus stop, community gardens and connections to greenway trails.
Aspen Romeyn is a project manager with Self-Help Credit Union, one of the organizations part of the Homestead Housing Collaborative. She helped present to the council and said the group has routinely relied on local organizations that work with the intellectual or developmental disabilities community to guide some aspects of the project.
“They want to be part of a regular community,” Romeyn said those groups have indicated about potential IDD residents. “A lot of the folks [the organizations] are working with want to have their own space, they want their own place to live, they want their own roommate. Maybe they have to have live-in care, but they want to be part of a bigger community.”
While the town council expressed excitement for the inclusion of affordable housing for the IDD community, some members also suggested making a higher percentage of the units available at the lowest price.
Jessica Anderson spoke to those ideas, saying Chapel Hill likely has more need for options like this than many other areas.
“I do have a concern with getting that representation if we don’t offer some more units that may be actually applicable or available to our intellectual disabilities community,” said Anderson. “I think this is an exciting opportunity to integrate folks in from that community. Because our school system and EC programs are amazing, folks are coming all over the country here and we’re actually over-represented with individuals with disabilities in this community.”
The town staff and Homestead Housing Collaborative can only do so much when designing the neighborhood right now, though. The project is waiting on a state determination about whether 3.5 acres are safe to develop on after a pond was drained. Officials want to ensure the area is not a perennial stream bed and will not fill with water again before the developers know whether buildings can be built on that part of the property.
Staff will take the town council’s comments into consideration as they craft a development application for 2200 Homestead Road over the summer. The application is expected to be submitted to the town in the fall.
Photo via Town of Chapel Hill.