Concerns over affordable housing development

Published 03/29 2013 04:30PM

Updated 03/29 2013 06:08PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Soon an empty lot will be turned into affordable housing, but neighbors are worried about their homes. The development on Cobblefield Drive will be for mixed-income families. It's directly west of I-57. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has the details.

It's the first affordable housing development in southwest Champaign. City planners are calling it an historic moment, but residents have a different opinion.

"They put this one on us real fast."

David Dye got a letter in the mail a few weeks ago stating the lot behind his home would soon be developed for affordable housing.

"I moved out here to be where it's quiet."

He's lived here for ten years.

"It's quiet. It's retired and I like it. It's affordable."

But, some people are worried about their property values. Months down the road, this empty lot will be filled with apartments and town-homes. All will be affordable housing mixed with median- and very-low income families.

"I think it's got pros and cons. I think it could bring in good, the good people. Then you got some low lifes. You don't know what it's going to bring."

The Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC) says it's a great move for the city. Leaders say they're moving away from the idea affordable housing needs to be blocked off in one area and should instead be spread throughout the city. Dye says it's frustrating, but not enough to make him leave his home.

"We all get along. We look out for each other. We babysit each other's house when we're on vacations. Nah, I ain't planning on moving. I'm too old to be moving."

Instead, he hopes it will be a good move for his neighborhood and supports the change.

"Seems like if I say something, it will go the other way, so I'll just go with it and support it."

HACC says construction will begin sometime this fall or spring of next year. The Cobblefield Development will mimic affordable housing already built in the area.

The homes will be similar to Crystal View Town-homes on Stebbins Drive in Urbana and Douglas Square Apartments on Nathaniel Burch Drive in Champaign.

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