Council debates affordable housing while crowd argues on immigration

By David Hodges | March 25, 2019 at 10:47 PM EST – Updated March 25 at 10:47 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -The community focus is still on the North Carolina ICE raids from last month as people representing both sides of the debate filled Charlotte City Council chambers Monday.

Two speakers backed Mayor Vi Lyles for not signing a letter condemning ICE’s recent arrests and two others spoke about the trauma ICE detentions have on families.

But once the chambers cleared, council focused on affordable housing. Council members heard about different developers plans to build 9% low income housing projects.

While the city hears them and submits them the state of North Carolina ultimately decides them and provides massive subsidies for the projects.

Council member Matt Newton said some of the projects did nothing to diversify Charlotte communities and scored low on the city’s new scoring matrix even if they still passed the state’s grade.

“You want to talk abut the very definition of concentrating pockets of poverty in our city, that’s what it is,” Newton said.

Other council members noted that state funding makes submitting these projects a can’t miss opportunity.

"We either say to the state no thank you we don’t want the money or we have to acknowledged this is what the state is saying," Mayor Pro-Tem Julie Eiselt said.

If the maximum projects were approved by the state, which is scheduled to award the projects by August, the local affordable housing bond money would be down to $31 million from $50 million.

City staff are also working on a dynamic pricing model to charge E-scooter companies by how much their riders are following rules. Riders wearing helmets and parking in appropriate place and the companies get charged less but bad ridership means they get charged more. That model for pricing is expected to go live in April.

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