Monday, February 22, 2010

Remember the goal when talking about rezoning and Ballantyne low-income housing

Ballantyne residents are fighting a rezoning request that could bring low-income housing to their Charlotte neighborhood. A meeting with the developer of the property at Providence Road West and Johnston Road got quite heated on Feb. 22. A hearing on the rezoning petition goes before the Charlotte City Council on March 18.

You can read or watch plenty more about issue elsewhere with links below. While the petition likely has quite a few opponents that fall into the not-in-my-back-yard camp, I suspect other issues are relevant as well. The chart above illustrates the tax-credit method that would help finance the Charlotte low-income housing project. Suspicion is high these days when it comes to complicated financing methods, and plenty of housing around the city remains vacant, for sale or for rent.

So consider this a jumping-off point to explore the issue of affordable housing more deeply if you wish. This Ballantyne housing project is not Section 8 housing, which has been an issue for the east side of Charlotte.

Remember January 2008, when a man was killed near low-income apartments not too far from Merry Oaks. That incident spurred talks and memos about safety at the complex. Since then, the apartments have been quiet, safe and well-maintained. Police, neighbors and complex management all deserve credit.

And that's the goal: providing safe, affordable housing for those who need it, and keeping surrounding neighborhoods safe as well.

Nimbyism isn't the answer. Affordable housing has to go somewhere. But it's wise to scrutinize how we spend tax money and how we support people in low-income housing.


Video stream from Ballantyne Scoop from the Feb. 22 meeting.
Charlotte Observer story about the Feb. 22 meeting.
Rezoning petition 2010-021.
The law and the rezoning from The Charlotte Business Journal.
Developers' backgrounds from The Charlotte Business Journal (might require subscription).
Other affordable housing developments from The Charlotte Business Journal.
Wikipedia on the tax credit.
State information about the tax credit.

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