Durham seeks plan to meet hous­ing de­mand

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Front page - BY DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN [email protected]­sob­server.com

The av­er­age new res­i­dent in Durham makes $13,000 more a year than cur­rent res­i­dents, and that new res­i­dent likely wants to live down­town.

But there’s not enough hous­ing sup­ply down­town and right out­side it, Durham Plan­ning De­part­ment Di­rec­tor Pat Young said. So those wealth­ier new Durhamites move into neigh- bor­hoods that ring down­town, or fur­ther out into “stable mid­dle class neigh­bor­hoods and start gen­tri­fi­ca­tion,” Young said.

Durham’s suc­cess in at­tract­ing new busi­nesses and res­i­dents has led to in­creased com- pe­ti­tion for a lim­ited sup­ply of hous­ing, Young said.

Over the next 30 years, about 160,000 new peo­ple are ex­pected to move to Durham. That means 62,200 new houses will be needed, ac­cord­ing to the plan­ning de­part­ment. It is half­way through a year­long study of hous­ing in Durham and how to deal with growth called Ex­pand­ing Hous­ing Choices. City Coun­cil mem­bers got an up­date dur­ing a meet­ing on Thurs­day.

WHERE PEO­PLE ARE BUY­ING HOUSES

In three neigh­bor­hoods within walk­ing dis­tance of down­town, the me­dian home prices have sky­rock­eted. Ac­cord­ing to real es­tate site Zil­low, the cur­rent me­dian home value in Durham is $221,700.

From 2013 to 2018, me­dian home prices have gone up 44 per­cent coun­ty­wide.

But in these neigh­bor­hoods ring­ing down­town, they’re even higher: East Durham, Old North Durham and Watts-Hil­lan­dale.

OVER THE NEXT 30 YEARS, ABOUT 160,000 NEW PEO­PLE ARE EX­PECTED TO MOVE TO DURHAM. THAT MEANS 62,200 NEW HOUSES WILL BE NEEDED.

Higher-in­come home buy­ers buy “down the lad­der” – cheaper house – if there’s not a sup­ply of what they can af­ford, ac­cord­ing to the plan­ning de­part­ment’s re­port.

HOW ZON­ING MAY CHANGE

The Ex­pand­ing Hous­ing Choices ini­tia­tive of the joint city-county plan­ning de­part­ment has come up with rec­om­men­da­tions for in­creas­ing Durham’s hous­ing sup­ply be­yond just more sin­gle-fam­ily houses.

ADUs: Durham al

• ready al­lows ac­ces­sory dwelling units, known as ADUs or back­yard cot­tages, to be built. But there are some reg­u­la­tions, and plan­ners think loos­en­ing those rules will al­low more ADUs to be built, pro­vid­ing more hous­ing op­tions and den­sity in the city. Plan­ners are also work­ing on a user’s guide to ADUs that gives in­for­ma­tion about fees and fi­nanc­ing sources.

Du­plexes: Al­low­ing

• du­plexes as a hous­ing type in more lo­ca­tions, es­pe­cially within the ur­ban tier.

Smaller houses, small• er lots: Durham may cre­ate a new hous­ing type and lot size stan­dard so smaller houses on smaller lots can be built.

Cot­tage Court: Anoth• er new type of hous­ing and lot di­men­sion would mean clus­ters of small homes, known as cot­tage courts, could be built around a com­mon green space.

NEIGH­BOR­HOODS WILL CHANGE

City Coun­cil mem­bers and plan­ners say there will be push­back from sin­gle­fam­ily home­own­ers who don’t want du­plexes or other hous­ing den­sity in ex­ist­ing sin­gle-fam­ily neigh­bor­hoods.

“Ev­ery neigh­bor­hood in Durham is go­ing to have to change at least some­what to ac­com­mo­date the next 100,000-plus new res­i­dents over the next 20 years,” Young said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jil­lian John­son said they need to look at the fu­ture.

“I don’t think we should com­pletely dis­count those feel­ings, but if we only con­sider what sin­gle­fam­ily home­own­ers want for neigh­bor­hoods, we’re do­ing a dis­ser­vice” to the rest of Durham years from now, she said.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Durham City Coun­cil will con­sider the changes to its uni­fied devel­op­ment or­di­nance and hold a pub­lic hear­ing be­fore vot­ing on the pro­posed zon­ing changes this spring.

CHUCK LIDDY [email protected]­sob­server.com

Durham’s hous­ing sup­ply can’t keep up with de­mand from new peo­ple mov­ing to the city. New res­i­dents make on av­er­age $13,000 per year in an­nual in­come than cur­rent res­i­dents.

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