Mayor Lyles opens the 2018 City Council Planning Retreat last week in Durham
DURHAM, NC — When Mayor Vi Lyles and the Charlotte City Council arrived in Durham Wednesday afternoon for the start of their 3-day planning retreat, the stage had already been set for a fascinating interplay between a series of emerging dynamics: Young vs. Old, Millennial vs. Boomer, Revolution vs. Status Quo. And with a menu of topics on their plate ranging from affordable housing and job creation, to sewer capacity and the completion of a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the conversation and debate was sure to be one for the books.
Affordable Housing dominated Day 2 of the retreat, which was held at the comfortable Washington-Duke Inn, just outside the Duke University campus. After an economic overview by the always-fascinating Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, council members jumped into a full-throated discussion about affordable housing and creating ‘great’ neighborhoods — without once recognizing that the two goals may, in fact, be somewhat incompatible. Some of the highlights:
Affordable housing experts Maurice Jones (LISC), Dionne Nelson (Laurel Street), Mark Etheridge (LCRE Capital) and Julie Porter (Housing Parnership) talk with Council in Durham
After hearing from representatives of the affordable housing industry, including Julie Porter of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership and Dionne Nelson of Laurel Street Residential), council members came up with a list of short- and long-term steps the City could take to make progress on the issue. They include:
Mayor Lyles asked staff to identify action steps that could advance at least of these ideas within the next 60 days, with the Locational Policy being a top priority. She also called for the immediate creation of a Council ad-hoc committee to provide input on the creation of the UDO, which newly hired Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba said was critical to help reduce regulatory conflict between city ordinances.
Council is scheduled to discuss these next steps in greater depth when it meets Monday night for its first 5 p.m. Strategy Session. At a minimum, look for a decision on the creation of a Council UDO committee, and possibly the discussion of some short-term action steps on affordable housing.
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