Affordable housing debate continues in Mt. Pleasant

The affordable housing debate continues in Mt. Pleasant Tuesday during a Planning and Development Committee meeting. It’s been two weeks since the first meeting of the Mt. Pleasant Affordable Housing Task Force and during Tuesday’s meeting, one council member suggested putting a ban on all future apartment complexes in the town, but Mayor Linda Page says that is the opposite of her vision for Mt. Pleasant.

Page says, “I certainly think it would be premature to randomly just decide that we’re going to have moratoriums on issues while we’re having a task force work on those very issues.”

One month ago, News 2 spoke to a Mt. Pleasant woman who says she may have to pull her son out of his school in Mt. Pleasant to move somewhere they can afford.

She says, “I spend all my time working and I still can’t provide for him.”

Councilman Joe Bustos suggested banning apartment complexes and accessory dwelling units, which is where people rent out a “mother-in-law” suite detached from the home.

Bustos says, “We need to slow the rate at which we’re bringing families into Mt. Pleasant, students into the schools, cars on to the street, and we can’t put a fence around Mt. Pleasant, but what we can do is manage the growth.”

Mayor Page says the growth is where it needs to be.

She says, “We’re at about 2.91% right now, that’s very healthy growth for a community and it’s not overgrowth.”

She says the goal is to have living options available for everyone, and that means keeping apartments and accessory dwelling units.

Mayor Page says, “If our median price range is $400,000, then your income in a family needs to be $150,000 to afford that mortgage, and not everyone in our community makes $150,000. So we need to make options for everyone who wants to work here and live here.”

However, Bustos says the solution isn’t apartments because the apartment rates are increasing growth without bringing down the price.

He says, “The Boulevard, where they specifically said they were going to have affordable apartments for service workers, there were only, I believe, 18. The balance of the 300-some apartments in there are renting for more than what my mortgage payment is. We need to slow the train a little bit.”

The motion was voted down at Tuesday’s committee meeting, but Mayor Page says she expects it to come up again at a full council meeting in the future.

 

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