Public Housing Battle in SW Charlotte
It was standing room only Tuesday night at what officials called a "courtesy meeting" about the proposed Westinghouse apartments at South Tryon and Westinghouse Boulevard. Leaders with the Charlotte Housing Partnership explained to residents the $10 million development would provide what's called "workforce" housing. 75% of the 90 units would rent for about $600 a month. The remaining 25% would rent for about $300 a month.
Ayrsley Resident Shawn Widrick says, “We're not against government assisted living at all, there's one less than a half a mile away from here." The low-income Summerfield development, which is currently not at capacity, is less than half a mile away. That distance is important because adding the Westinghouse development would violate a city council policy that prevents "clustering" of low income housing. Ayrsley resident Marilyn Goodrich says, "We're trying to uphold the city's policy. We clearly don't qualify, we already have lots of affordable housing already here."
The Charlotte Housing Partnership acknowledges Summerfield is within the 1/2 mile boundary but still wants city council to waive its clustering policy. Partnership president Pat Garrett says, "Only 55 units doesn't seem to us to be clustering."
Another fly in the ointment for residents is David Howard, who works for the Partnership. He's also a city council member. He has said he will recuse himself from a council vote but Ayrsley resident Amber Logan says if the project is greenlighted, "I'm gonna work like heck to make sure there are some changes in the next elections."
Residents say the Westinghouse apartment project is totally different from the scrapped Ballantyne low income development because Ayrsley already has low income housing.
City council will decide whether to waive the clustering policy in May. And in addition to David Howard, some residents are also calling for mayor pro-tem Susan Burgess to recuse herself from a vote, as well. She serves on the board of the Charlotte Housing Partnership.
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