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Charlotte Area

Affordable Housing Proposal Returns To Ayrsley Neighborhood

http://66.225.205.104/051311-50jr.mp3

Plans for an affordable housing complex in Charlotte's Ayrsley neighborhood have been revived, and this time the developers won't need special permission from the city council. Original plans for the property were dashed last summer because of neighborhood opposition. Ayrsley residents have begun receiving postcard invitations to an open house next Tuesday where they'll get details on a new development planned for a four and a half acre field at Westinghouse Boulevard and Tryon Street. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership wants to build affordable housing there and the last time it tried, Ayrsley residents revolted. Will they react differently this time? "We just don't know," says Kim Graham of The Housing Partnership. "We just know that the design is something that's needed and we hope that they're happy with it when we talk to them, but we just don't know." What we do know is that The Housing Partnership will not need a special waiver from the city council to build the latest version of the project. That's because it will be 86 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. The Charlotte City Council recently decided that new affordable housing for seniors ages 55 and older can be built anywhere in the city - even if it's less than half a mile from another subsidized housing project, as is the case in Ayrsley. Around this time last year, Ayrsley residents packed a city council meeting to complain they already have a glut of vacant rentals. Many said they bought homes in the neighborhood with the understanding that the nearby empty lot would be a community playing field, not subsidized housing. They complained of backroom deals. Kim Graham says the Housing Partnership's community open house is an attempt to head off similar complaints. "We definitely don't want to send a message that we're not being transparent, so if anything that's definitely something that we learned," says Graham. While the proposal will not require a location waiver from the Charlotte City Council, Graham says the Housing Partnership has asked for $1.8 million in taxpayer money from the city's Housing Trust Fund to help build the project. The community open house will be held Tuesday, May 17 at Steele Creek Church of Charlotte (1929 W. Arrowood Rd) from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Housing Partnership will also hold open hours for neighbors to drop in at its office (4601 Charlotte Park Drive) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 18th and 19th.