Cherry residents express support for affordable housing development

Residents of the rapidly-changing Cherry neighborhood told the Charlotte City Council on Wednesday that they support a proposal to build a 30-unit affordable housing development.

But one concerned neighbor said the proposed development would be too dense, risking the single-family, neighborhood feel of the historic area.

The plan by developer Laurel Street Residential calls for three buildings totaling 30 units on a vacant 1.9-acre site at Baxter and Avant streets.

Cherry, a historically black community started in 1891, has seen a slew of changes recently. On Wednesday, the Charlotte Housing Authority also unveiled plans to redevelop a half-dozen properties it owns in Cherry, including the Tall Oaks apartments. CHA plans to build 200 apartments and 81 townhouses and detached houses for the elderly, disabled and those earning below a certain percentage of the area’s median income.

The Cherry Neighborhood Association supports the proposal.

“I’m here this evening to address what seems to be a never-ending battle: Cherry vs. developers,” said Barbara Rainey, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 60 years. “It’s time for Cherry to get what Cherry needs: affordable housing.”

Doris Dennis said she has lived in the neighborhood for more than 70 years, and has seen waves of gentrification push out many older residents.

“We have been messed with, lied to, like we wasn’t anything,” she said. “We need these homes built.”

A dozen Cherry residents held green signs urging City Council to approve the proposal. Council members will vote on the proposal at a later meeting.

Jason Harris said he’s not against affordable housing, but the proposal is too dense for an area zoned for single-family houses.

“What I am opposed to,” he said, “is the density this project will potentially bring to the neighborhood.”

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Twitter: @ESPortillo