Last September, we excitedly tweeted that Chapel Hill was getting ready to make it hugely easier to build “missing middle” housing.
Tomorrow, the Chapel Hill Town Council will vote on a text amendment that will allow people to build duplexes and small homes throughout our community, not just in a handful of neighborhoods. There are some stipulations – the duplexes will have to adhere to a certain square footage – but it would be a welcome step.
Chapel Hill allowed duplexes and other housing types, which they called “in-fill housing” from 1981 until it was repealed in 1986. At the time, a council member opposed to the repeal observed “[w]e are leaving out even the slightest possibility of getting affordable housing here in Chapel Hill.”
The infill housing created between 1981 and 1986 forms some of our town’s most affordable housing options. But we stopped building it in 1986. Over the past 37 years, we’ve seen housing getting more and more expensive in the home of one of our country’s great public research universities.
We’ve spent much of the past nine months digging into the text amendment, and writing about the proposal that Council will vote on tomorrow night. Here, we collect all of our pieces in one spot. Thank you for reading.
Melody Kramer serves on the OWASA board and lives in Carrboro with her family. By day, she leads communications for a large academic research center and recently obtained her MLIS degree focusing on digital...
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