Affordable housing developers to get $150K from village.


Byline: Matt Chaney

Two real estate developers have reached a $150,000 settlement with a village in Forsyth County after alleging that the village's council unlawfully blocked a proposed development because it would have included the construction of affordable housing, their attorney reports.

Lauren Brasil of Legal Aid of North Carolina in Raleigh said that Sylvan Road Partners and Allegro Investment Properties claimed that the village of Clemmons violated state and federal fair housing laws in denying their application to build the planned development.

Brasil cited transcripts of a village council meeting in which members discussed their hesitations about the development's inclusion of affordable housing and concern over a potential increase in crime that it might cause.

The developers filed a complaint with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission in December 2015. While no formal mediator was involved, an HRC conciliator worked with attorneys from both sides to reach the settlement agreement. Had the case not settled, Brasil said a civil lawsuit would have been filed in either state or federal court.

As part of the settlement, agreed to on Jan. 28, the Clemmons village council also agreed to attend fair housing training sponsored by the North Carolina Human Relations Commission.

"There is a significant need for affordable housing across the state," Brasil said. "This case shows that local government is subject to federal and state fair housing laws, and we are committed to representing the victims of discrimination to enforce laws to show that informal barriers should not prevent affordable developments."

The proposed housing project has not been built. Brasil said the settlement did not include any provisions regarding any future development that...

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