Fayetteville council unanimously approves combined housing resolutions

(Flyer photo, file)

FAYETTEVILLE — Two competing resolutions aimed at addressing affordable housing were combined into one proposal and unanimously adopted by the City Council on Tuesday.

The two ideas were first discussed at the council’s previous meeting on March 19, which included a three-hour discussion on whether to declare a housing crisis and how to begin tackling the problem.

The first proposal was brought forward by council members D’Andre Jones and Sarah Moore. Their resolution proposed declaring a crisis, forming of a task force, and hiring a new city employee to coordinate affordable housing efforts. It also directed city staff to make several pledges and commitments, including forming regional partnerships, establishing metrics, asking lawmakers for additional funding, and advertising the resolution to mobilize support.

A second resolution was drafted by Councilmember Mike Wiederkehr, who said he’d prefer something less focused on emotional appeal and more productive in nature. Wiederkehr’s proposal was co-sponsored by Scott Berna, Sarah Bunch, Holly Hertzberg and Teresa Turk. It listed the city’s current and past initiatives, which Wiederkehr said the other resolution seemed to ignore. It also proposed increased developer fees to pay the salary of a new employee such as an engineer, a deputy of development services, a planner or an inspector.

About 30 people spoke during public comment, many who told stories of their own challenges in finding an affordable place to live in the city. Almost all spoke in favor of either the original resolution or some combination of the two.

The council agreed to blend the two proposals and asked the city attorney’s office to get to work on a new draft, but Mayor Lioneld Jordan scheduled a workshop session so the process could instead play out in public.

The new proposal declares a crisis and adds a list of the city’s accomplishments and ongoing efforts to the language in the first resolution. It also calls for the formation of a task force of up to 11 people appointed by the mayor, each with experience in the housing or planning sectors.

And instead of hiring a housing coordinator, the new resolution calls for the hiring of staff only as necessary in an effort to expedite the approval of new housing projects. Moore said Tuesday she wanted the resolution to specifically mention hiring a new coordinator, but her motion to amend the proposal failed with only Jones in support.

Before the vote, Jones said the combined resolution is a win for everyone. Wiederkehr agreed, and suggested removing his version from the agenda, which was then tabled indefinitely by a vote of 8-0.

» See the combined resolution here