For anyone living on Wallace Road in southeast Charlotte, the sight of construction and change is nothing new. The latest rezoning is yet another sign of ongoing development near Independence Boulevard.
MoRA joined negotiations for the rezoning of four acres for 88-units of single-family to multifamily apartments with developer Josh Jolley. This apartment on Wallace Road, close to the proposed Lynx Silver Line light rail project alignment, is approximately one-half mile from the nearest proposed light rail station. This project was also MoRA’s first opportunity to address affordable housing in the area. We’d like to know how you feel about affordable housing in MoRA and whether you think MoRA should continue to advocate for the inclusion of affordable housing in future developments.
Mr. Jolley met with members of MoRA’s Government Committee in April to describe the proposed project and ask for community input. He wanted to know how the project could help meet the goals and needs of the MoRA area. MoRA representatives highlighted several priorities of the MoRA community:
- Pedestrian safety
- Preserving the character of the neighborhood
- Ensuring as little disturbance to surrounding neighborhoods as possible
- Minimizing the environmental and aesthetic impacts of tree loss
One topic that MoRA representatives raised was the potential inclusion of affordable housing units within the project. Mr. Jolley said the price points will be aimed at workforce housing, and would consider reserving some units for those at 80% or less of the area median income (“AMI”).
For context, the annual Area Median Income for Charlotte for a family of four is $79,000. 80% AMI for a family of four is $63,200. 50% AMI is $39,500, and 30% AMI is $23,700. Someone earning $15.00 per hour, working a 40-hour workweek with two weeks of unpaid time off would earn approximately $30,000 per year. Someone earning minimum wage for the same period would earn approximately $14,500 per year.
MoRA volunteers attended the rezoning meeting at Independence Library on July 30, 2019, and heard from adjacent property owners about their views on the project.
After extensive negotiations among Mr. Jolley, MoRA, and Matt Newton, the City Councilmember representing the district, several changes to the original project design were agreed to, and approved by City Council on October 21, 2019:
- Traffic calming features in the private road through the project connecting Pineborough Road to Wallace Road to reduce vehicle speeds and cut-through traffic
- Building materials and design elements ensuring the character and quality of the project will be consistent with other recent projects in MoRA including Meridian Place and MoRA Point
- Increasing the buffers between the project and the surrounding neighborhoods
- Commitment to tree plantings within the project 50% greater than the City of Charlotte’s existing tree ordinance
- Securing six affordable housing units committed to 80% AMI for fifteen years
MoRA has advocated for many of these features in rezoning processes for other area developments, but this is the first time MoRA took a position on affordable housing. MoRA feels that one aspect the community values is its inclusive and diverse nature.
The area has historically had affordable housing options for those wanting to call the neighborhood home, but in recent years area housing prices have quickly increased. We believe that keeping affordable options in MoRA is something the community stands behind. Still, we would like to hear from you about your views on this topic.
Let us know what you think by emailing email@example.com under the subject “Affordable Housing.” MoRA wants to ensure we are representing the full community so please send us your opinion.