On our local Nextdoor site, there’s been a good deal of complaining about the new apartment complexes going up in Chapel Hill—and there’s no doubt that there has been a lot of apartment development, although it’s coming on the heels of decades of meager investment in our apartment stock. One comment struck me though. A local resident, after complaining about the aesthetics of these complexes, asked:

And honestly look at who’s moving into these new residences? What do they care about?

I’ll give one example of someone who might be moving into those new residences. My son is a student at UNC and will be graduating next year. He doesn’t know (and I certainly don’t know) what he’s going to do after graduation or where he’ll end up, but thanks to the development of the Berkshire Apartments, the Elliott Apartments, Trilogy Chapel Hill, and the forthcoming Park Apartments and Aura Blue, there will be many safe, comfortable places with good transit access in Chapel Hill where he could live on a college graduate’s salary. If he graduated in 2008, which is when we moved to Chapel Hill, his options would have been limited to the existing apartment complexes in Chapel Hill/Carrboro that largely cater to students. I expect he’d have done what most graduates of that time did (and what many do even today) which is move out of town.

Yes, we need more affordable housing options. But we also need more housing options for graduating college students who want to stay in the area, almost all of whom leave and take their talents to other communities. So, I, for one, am thankful there are new housing options that give my son, and others, the opportunity to live here after graduation.

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

Geoff Green, AICP lives in Chapel Hill. In his day job he's a practicing urban planner; in his spare time he rides his electric bike around town and advocates for improved facilities so that everyone can...