Kannapolis City Council rejects plan for affordable housing project

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

KANNAPOLIS — During Monday night’s meeting, Kannapolis City Council voted to not support an inducement resolution for an affordable housing project near the intersection of Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue. Even though council expressed that there is a need for affordable housing in the city and county, the main concern they had was the location itself. Currently, there are 23 single family renter occupied homes on the five acre property.

Dominium, the developer for the proposed $175 million project, wants to construct two, “high-quality” buildings. One would be for families and the other would be exclusively for seniors who are 55 and older, with parking decks included for residents. The two buildings would accommodate 455 units with one bedroom apartments going for $1,000 and three bedroom apartments costing $1,450. Council member Ryan Dayvault mentioned that there would not be a buffer to separate them with the existing neighborhood adjacent to it. Admitting there is a demand for affordable housing, but also that there are problems with displacing people from their homes, Dayvault described the matter as a “no-win situation.”

“It’s too much of a shock,” Dayvault said. “I just don’t see how that can fly from that drastic of a change from single family and historic homes to a five-story building. You got to have something in between,” Dayvault said.

Other council members brought up trying to convince Dominium to choose another site for the project. Director of Economic and Community Development Irene Sacks spoke on the complexities of finding another location for the development due to the competitiveness and particulars of the tax credits the developer is pursuing to help fund the project. The timeframe to submit applications for the tax credits to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is around one month, which does not give Dominium enough time to find an adequate alternative location or to reach out to other agencies to approve the inducement resolution.

City Manager Mike Legg, Dominium and Insite Properties, the current property owner, will be having discussions in the near future on what other potential properties are viable for the development.

Several people living nearby came to the meeting to voice their opinions that the development should not proceed where it is. Kannapolis resident Dana Coulter, who lives down the street on Chestnut Avenue, said that the increased density and the destruction of a significant neighborhood could lead to unforeseen complications for people living in the area. She believes there is a better location that could be utilized and that compromises can be made to improving on what was suggested by Dominium.

“I think we made a difference tonight,” Coulter said. “It was the right decision…We’ve got a great neighborhood and great neighbors and everybody’s turned out to say, ‘Hey, this is going to destroy the character of our little single family residential neighborhood.'”