Two recent positive affordable housing events in Cary have the Affordable Housing Committee on the hunt for more Cary residents to join us. First, the Cary Town Council approved an affordable housing plan, the “Cary Housing Plan,” by unanimous vote on November 9, 2021. Second, the Town of Cary is finalizing site plans and a re-zoning application for the affordable housing development known as the Laurel Street development. This will be developed on seven acres of city-owned land adjacent to East Cary Middle School.
The working premise of the Cary Housing Plan is this: to maintain the vitality and quality of life in Cary, the town must fund programs to promote affordable housing for households earning $80,000 or less in annual income. People such as young adults starting their careers, the police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses and food and retail workers who work in Cary, and the seniors wishing to age in place in Cary are among this group. Based on an estimate from Wake County, Cary has a deficit of 6,690 affordable housing units, including an estimated 3,005 units for households earning below 30% Area Median Income (AMI) and an estimated 3,685 for households earning 30%-50% AMI. (Based on HUD estimates, the AMI for a family of four living in Cary is $86,400.)
The Cary Housing Plan proposes the following creative ideas:
· establishment of a dedicated affordable housing fund
· an emergency housing program to keep Cary residents in their homes
· a home-ownership program for lower- and middle-income people
· financial aid to homeowners and potential landlords to upgrade older homes in Cary
Moreover, the Cary Housing Plan proposes loan and grant programs to encourage public investment in the preservation of extant affordable housing in Cary by non-profits, private market entities, and faith-based organizations.
In addition, the plan calls for passage of town ordinances allowing for missing middle housing as well as the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), tiny homes, and cottage clusters. The plan also proposes devoting city-owned land to affordable housing developments and finding ways to encourage developers to build more affordable housing.
The Laurel Street development is the first town-sponsored affordable housing development in Cary. It is planned to provide 130 rental units, some of which will be for households earning 50%-80% AMI. Site plans for the development are in the final stages. The Town of Cary will schedule neighborhood meetings to allow residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to the development to learn and voice concerns about the development.
The Cary Town Council and its committees will want to hear from residents of Cary. We know there will be opposition. We need more of you Cary Leaguers to join us as we advocate for these innovative and much-needed programs. Please contact Jeanne Ford at email@example.com and let her know you are ready to help!