The three district Metro Council members who say their constituents are most affected by the uneven distribution of affordable housing are drafting a resolution to reverse the trend and spread such developments throughout Davidson County.
In a letter to fellow Council members over the weekend, District 3 Councilman Walter Hunt said he, along with District 1 Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. and District 2 Councilman Frank Harrison, wants to create a method to distribute affordable housing developments evenly throughout the county.
The issue has been a hot one on the heels of the proposed Park Preserve development proposed by Habitat for Humanity, which would put 350 units in Hunt and Harrison’s districts. The development would be largest Habitat project in the country.
The first phase of the project had 34 units and was approved by the Planning Commission last week.
“We felt that it is appropriate for the district Council members to bring this legislation in that Districts 1, 2 and 3 are the ones most affected,” Hunt’s letter said. “These districts currently contain an enormous number of Section 8, Habitat and halfway houses.”
Hunt’s letter did not offer specifics for how to create a method to spread affordable housing developments around. It’s a conundrum that has faced those in the affordable housing industry for some time.
Chris McCarthy, the director of the local Habitat office, said affordable housing comes by means of affordable land, which can be had in those districts.
Hunt said Habitat was being discriminatory by moving into mostly black neighborhoods without attempting to offer affordable housing options throughout the county.
The first phase of Park Preserve already had its proper zoning in place, leading to approval by a cautious Planning Commission. Habitat leaders have met with Hunt, Harrrison and nearby neighborhood associations to assuage persisting fears that the massive affordable housing development will hurt property values.