Collins Ridge Development sees affordable housing units relocated off-site



An affordable housing project in Hillsborough recently encountered a roadblock. Collins Ridge, a 1,000-unit development, was to have 88 affordable housing units in the neighborhood. Now these units are relocated.

The Hillsborough Council of Commissioners initially approved a master plan for the Collins Ridge neighborhood in 2016.

Of the more than 1,000 units, 88 have been designated as affordable rental units through CASA, a local non-profit organization that provides stable and affordable housing to people who are homeless or at risk.

The developer and CASA initially identified three acres of land on the east end of Orange Grove Street that were well qualified to receive low-income housing tax credits from North Carolina Housing Finance. The site has since been deemed unfit to qualify for the credit program.

Now the developers and CASA have asked to relocate the off-site affordable housing units adjacent to the neighborhood.

At a recent meeting of the Hillsborough Council of Commissioners, the Commissioners expressed their views on this change to the master plan.

Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver said the city needs to think about how to move forward with affordable housing, even if it isn’t in the Collins Ridge area.

“All parties are frustrated and a little disappointed that this CASA home complex has to be moved,” Weaver said.

Hillsborough Commissioner Kathleen Ferguson said she would like to see the three acres of land initially allocated to CASA become green space.

“Moving CASA leaves space,” Ferguson said. “What I’m saying is that doesn’t mean they can add more houses.”

Ferguson said his main concern is making sure CASA agrees with the changes to affordable housing in the neighborhood.

“For me, this is the most important characteristic of Collins Ridge,” Ferguson said. “It’s critically important to our community. CASA brings something that our community does not have and if they are not fully satisfied, in my opinion we have wasted time.

Rachel Eberhard, the CASA real estate developer, said the nonprofit wanted to ensure connectivity was always maintained between the affordable housing site and the larger development.

“We have a proposal to connect to the Freeland Memorial,” said Eberhard. “We were really concerned that we were sort of on the side here and that our residents wouldn’t necessarily have such direct access to some of the amenities of the larger neighborhoods. “

Despite the change in location, Eberhard said CASA was happy with the new site.

Hillsborough Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution to change the Collins Ridge Master Plan.

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