The “Multi-Family Housing Blues”

July 15th, 1996
Article #107

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"Most people who rent apartments are not living the American Dream." That was probably the most striking and disturbing statement made at a recent public hearing in opposition to a rezoning request. The rezoning involved 18 acres currently zoned R-4 (4 units/acre), and the request was for R-10 (10 units/acre), which typically means multi-family (apartments, townhomes, condos). ...

In a well-publicized case here in Raleigh, residents of a well-to-do single family development across the street from a site proposed for apartment units to be financed through a tax credit program, tried to rezone the site to kill the project, even though the project met all code requirements and had received the necessary building permits.

A local newspaper article published some of the reasons nearby residents gave for their opposition: they didn't want "hamburger flippers" living near them; they felt the new residents would be discouraged from pulling themselves up "by their bootstraps" if they saw the affluence around them. It would be ironic if individuals who spoke out against this project suddenly found themselves having to live in these apartments and "flip hamburgers" to make ends meet. It's an unfortunate reality that some people who have held high paying jobs with some of our best known high-tech corporations have had to sell their homes and work in fast-food restaurants. ...

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