Town meeting addresses student and resident housing affordability

Chelsey Fisher

The Town of Boone Town Council opened for public opinions on a proposal for affordable housing solutions for both students and residents Monday night.

Speeches were given by the members of the Affordable Housing Task Force, as well as an open opportunity for the public to voice their opinions.

The task force has worked to give the local working class affordable housing.

Affordable Housing Task Force representative Pam Williamson argued that in a growing community there is “an acute shortage of affordable housing in Boone.”

“We also need to provide a variety of housing options for working residents, which includes students, professors and residents in Boone,” Williamson said.

Appalachian State University students agreed.

“Me and my friends have a very hard time trying to find off-campus housing that is affordable,” sophomore social work major Angela Day said. “College is a time where you are putting your money into something and you may not have time for a job. The larger complexes are just simply out of reach for many people.”

Unlike many universities, Appalachian poses a multitude of problems when trying to solve the issue of expansion.

“We live in a valley where there is not much place to go,” Williamson said. “Therefore we must develop a plan to create a variety of housing for the people of Boone.”

Though proposals for dense, variety-based housing were argued strongly by many, there were also many present that saw the possible flaws for the amendment.

“Proposed elements, such as mixed unit housing, required driveways and parking, increased liability spacing ratios, height restrictions and required bedroom dimensions only add to the construction costs to any new multi-family development, therefore how can you make it affordable?”, said Jeff Templeton of Jeff Templeton Rentals, LLC in Boone.

“Any time you mess with dimensions, you are upping the costs to build that housing,” Tim Hagaman, a realtor, said. “Though its possible, I think the amendment needs just a little bit more tweaking before it can be truly taken into consideration.”

Story: NINA MASTANDREA, Intern News Reporter