SouthLight and Neighborhood Reach Agreement

After 11 months of delay, an affordable housing project in South Raleigh is moving forward.

Representatives from SouthLight are planning to build a 16-bedroom affordable housing complex for people suffering from substance abuse disorders or mental illness.

Earlier this year, SouthLight requested $600,000 in funding from the city for a 32-bedroom complex, but the project size was decreased after new federal regulations were put in place.

SouthLight is now requesting only $450,000 in funding from the city, a request councilors approved Tuesday in the Budget and Economic Development committee meeting.

The complex will be built on SouthLight's property located on Garner and Newcombe roads.

According to the city's Scatter Site Housing Policy, the property is located in a Priority IV area, meaning affordable housing wouldn't normally be allowed.

The policy aims to spread such supportive housing facilities to areas of the city that don’t have a majority of minority or low-income residents.

Councilors considered the request because SouthLight owns the property and purchased it in the early 1990s with the intention of building housing.

The project quickly came under fire from area residents who said SouthLight did a poor job communicating with the neighborhood.

Residents, particularly from the Biltmore Hills Neighborhood Association, said their main concern was safety as some potential residents may have criminal histories.

Residents of the SouthLight community would stay for up to six months while undergoing various treatments.

At Tuesday's meeting, SouthLight CEO Tad Clodfelter said the organization has spent almost a year working with Biltmore Hills and the South Citizens Advisory Council in hopes of coming to a consensus.

Along with downsizing the project and increasing a tree buffer between the property and the neighborhood, the complex will no longer have an entrance on Newcombe Road.

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The open lot where SouthLight representatives plan to build supportive housing.

South CAC Chair Norman Camp said SouthLight representatives have done everything that they asked them to do.

“I can assure you that some of [the residents] may have come from our community,” he said.

Councilor Eugene Weeks commended SouthLight for working with the community to satisfy the neighborhood's concerns.

The entire Council will vote on SouthLight's funding request next week.

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