Orange County

Council could add more money for housing to Chapel Hill budget

The Chapel Hill Town Council will discuss a plan Monday, June 12, to create a $600,000 Opportunity Fund. The fund, if approved June 26, could support affordable housing projects like this Habitat for Humanity home in the Rusch Hollow subdivision. The town also could put an affordable housing bond to the voters in spring 2018.
The Chapel Hill Town Council will discuss a plan Monday, June 12, to create a $600,000 Opportunity Fund. The fund, if approved June 26, could support affordable housing projects like this Habitat for Humanity home in the Rusch Hollow subdivision. The town also could put an affordable housing bond to the voters in spring 2018. File photo

Additional money for affordable housing is expected in next year’s Chapel Hill $107.3 million budget, along with more money for transit and a $6 increase in the annual stormwater fee.

The budget, which the Town Council will vote on Monday, would keep the property tax rate at a revenue-neutral 50.8 cents per $100 in property value. A revenue neutral rate is based on new property tax values but brings in the same amount of money to the town as the old value.

The town’s property tax bill for someone who owns a $350,000 house would be $1,778. Chapel Hill property owners also pay county and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools taxes, which will be set when the Orange County Board of Commissioners approves the county budget June 20.

The town already sets aside a penny on the tax rate for affordable housing – roughly $688,000 – but the council discussed adding more money after hearing from residents and housing providers this spring.

The pending plan would use money from the Affordable Housing Development Reserve and a payment from developer East West Partners to create a $600,000 Opportunity Fund. The council is slated to vote on that plan June 26 and could use the money as it is needed to support affordable housing projects.

Town staff also could begin planning for an affordable housing bond referendum during the spring 2018 primary election.

Other topics expected to be considered at Monday’s council meeting include:

▪  Paris Accord: The council could approve a resolution of support for global climate change goals; Mayor Pam Hemminger voiced her support last week after President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw from the carbon-cutting agreement.

▪  Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool: The Planning Board approved a site plan in January for a preschool with 23 parking spaces at 108 Mt. Carmel Church Road. Neighbors appealed to the Board of Adjustment, which increased the required parking to 31 spaces and capped student enrollment. The preschool has offered to seek a special use permit for 47 parking spaces, but wants the council to waive the application fees of roughly $8,930.

▪  Light-rail stations: The council will discuss an update on planning for six Durham-Orange Light-Rail Transit stations. Five are in Chapel Hill – UNC Hospitals, Hamilton Road, Friday Center, Woodmont and Gateway – and one, Patterson Place, is in the City of Durham.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

What’s next

The Chapel Hill Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, June 12, at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. You can see the full agenda at bit.ly/CHTCBus061217.

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