Review board defers decision on affordable housing project in W. Ashley

Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston’s Design Review Board deferred a decision on an affordable housing project in West Ashley Monday, asking the developer to make a number of design changes and provide more information about drainage.

Greenville-based Homes of Hope is proposing building 78 two-story townhomes near the Pierpont Crossing shopping center at the corner of Ashley River Road and Dogwood Road.

Some of the units will be affordable to families earning 51% to 80% of the area’s median income, but most of the homes will be limited to people earning 81% to 120% of the median income, Housing and Community Development Department Director Geona Shaw Johnson said.

That roughly equates to a person earning between $40,000 and $97,000 for a family of four.

West Ashley continues to be a desirable location for more affordable housing opportunities, she added.

The project is one piece in the affordable housing puzzle; by 2030, Shaw Johnson said the city is expected to need around 16,000 affordable housing units. More than 6,300 of those are in West Ashley alone.

This project, unlike some others, is focused on home buyers instead of renters.

“One thing we want to increase is the number of attached-style for sale properties in our community,” Shaw Johnson said. “Many of our developments have been single family detached homes in the city of Charleston, and so this provides buyers another opportunity. It should be more economically priced due to economies of scale.”

The site backs up to Gale D’Aloia’s home. While she said the project is a good idea, it will make her back patio less private.

“I’m just thinking people can look right in on my porch. It used to be I could go out there in my nightgown,” she said with a laugh.

While construction was planning to start last summer, construction has yet to break ground. Johnson said the developer has re-visited options related to zoning, density and site design.

Construction is expected to start by the end of this year. You can see the project proposal here.

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