Are the “Courtyards of Homestead” Really for Seniors?

The “Courtyards of Homestead” proposal is coming before the town council at a public hearing on February 17…..   http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/Bluesheet.aspx?itemid=2541&meetingid=288.

This is the third time that a development proposal has come up for this particular area.  Most council members criticized those plans for varying reasons, and citizens came out in opposition to the development due to its density and marketing to students in an area far from campus.    With this development, there are proposed single family homes (with pool and clubhouse!), and a different targeted market other than students, in fact quite the opposite…those over 50.

I don’t have an opinion on the development itself and whether or not it should be for seniors or younger single families, but if the developer is going to tout a “target market”, they should own up to that in a legal sense.   The reason for this concern is that our particular school system currently is almost at capacity and it is extremely important for the council to pay attention to what it approves and the resulting school impacts.

Is this development an official senior community or not?    An official senior community will claim an exemption to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and officially comply with the 1995 Housing for Older Persons Act.  (That act also refers to the golden age of 55 not age 50 as the developers mention for this one).   If it’s not official, then I think it disingenuous to assume that a development with single family homes under 400K with a pool and clubhouse will not impact the school system with families with children, even though heavy marketing will be for adults over the age of 50.

Existing and future Chapel Hill families with adults under the age of 50 and  their children are in need of more affordable housing like this.    This development would be extremely attractive to such young families given the price point and how close they are to some of the best schools in the state.    If this development truly is to be considered a senior community that caters to seniors and falls within the 1995 HOPA (Housing for Older Persons Act), then more than 80% of the households would be required to have one resident 55 or older.   Is that what they are, in fact, proposing?

Here is the developer’s quote about the project:  ” The Courtyards of Homestead will target the over 50 buyer that wants to down‐size but remain in Chapel Hill or relocate to Chapel Hill to be near their children and enjoy the Chapel Hill lifestyle. They are predominately active empty nester adults that need or prefer
single‐story detached living in a vibrant community but want a community maintenance program for exterior yards and common areas.”   They go on to state:   “Epcon Communities typically do not include very many school age children lessening the impact on the community school system. There was only 1 school age child in the Epcon Communities surveyed in the Carolina’s….many of the residents are retired,” and “The demographic of the target market have few if any children, thereby minimizing impacts on local schools.”

I have school age children.  I am not in the 50 + year old bracket (yet).   I think it would be very attractive to live in a lower priced new single family home as proposed, with pool and clubhouse, running trails nearby, within walking distance to my kids’ schools!      This development will only attract the over 50 retired folks?

If this developer is going to actually live up to the claim that this development will not impact the school system because the target market is older people, then they should make it official and state they will be complying with the HOPA of 1995 and directly market to those over the age of 55.   At that point the community knows that 80% of the homes will in fact have residents over the age of 55.

Our schools and the community need that level of assurance.

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