‘Not a lot of cities are doing that:’ How could Greenville’s new development code create affordable housing?
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville is changing and the law that has been guiding growth in the city is decades old. Needless to say, it’s outdated, which is why the city is working on a new development code. While we’re in the middle of a housing affordability crisis, this code might be the seed for wiser growth in the city.
“I’ve seen tremendous change from when I moved here about 15 years ago,” said Kwadjo Campbell, talking about his Poe Mill neighborhood. He says the change has been gentrification.
Campbell wears many hats, but through his economic development firm, he’s been advocating for affordable housing.
“Usually when people talk about affordable housing solutions they go straight to money,” he said.
But zoning can make an impact too. The new brightly-colored zoning map is what will make the difference.
“What can we offer developers to get them into the game of affordable housing? Because the private the public sector cannot solve the issue by itself,” said Campbell.
The code has many tactics aiming for more affordability–like the height bonus. Which will incentivize developers to provide 10% or 15% of units at an affordable price by offering them additional floors/stories.
“Well, we’ve got now 200 more affordable units, where in the past, we would add just 1,000 expensive units,” Campbell explained.
“Affordable,” by HUD standards, is considered no more than 30% of a renter’s monthly income. And this city says the units must stay affordable for 20 years.
“20 years is about the average, you know, but I’ve seen it as high as 30,” he said.
Campbell says the bonus won’t provide low-income housing, but it’ll create units for moderate income levels for folks making 50, 60 or 70 percent the AMI, or around $30,000 to %50,000 annually. Some planning commissioners and advocates have pushed for housing at lower income levels. But Campbell says, as is, the code can have a big impact.
“For the fact that the city is doing that is a feather in their cap, not a lot of cities are doing that,” he said.
The goal is to have 15 percent of all new housing in the city be affordable.
You still have time to give feedback and learn more about the code. Beginning Tuesday, April 18, City planning staff will hold four additional “Learning Labs,” to allow residents the opportunity to learn how the new development code will affect their property.
LEARNING LAB SCHEDULE
- Tuesday, April 18, 2 to 5 p.m. at the Greenville Convention Center
- Wednesday, April 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Greenville Convention Center
- Thursday, April 20, 8 to 11 a.m., at the Unity Park Welcome Center
- Thursday, April 27, from 4 to 7 p.m., location pending
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