The mayor bristled Thursday when asked about affordable housing in the town’s Ephesus-Fordham district.
The town has asked the county to help pay for district road and stormwater projects, but the county held, off, saying it wants more data first.
County Commissioner Renee Price wanted to know what the town considered to be affordable in housing planned for the district.
The town did not abandon affordable housing when it sought to encourage commercial redevelopment, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt replied.
Price tried to clarify, but Kleinschmidt interrupted her and continued, noting the town’s plans include a pending partnership with nonprofit developer DHIC Inc. and a density bonus for affordable housing projects in part of the district.
Councilman Jim Ward, though, said the town “gave away the bank” when it didn’t leverage density to get affordable housing.
“We abandoned that in this district, and I hope that we will revisit that for the entire area,” he told the mayor. “She had a very simple question, and you go into this advertisement about the great job we did.”
“Giving $2 million (in land) to (DHIC) to help us build affordable housing, that is totally unassociated with the rezoning of Ephesus-Fordham, and to take credit for that affordable housing ... is a way to brainwash, or in this case, affordable housing-wash.”
“I completely disagree, and I am actually offended by that,” Kleinschmidt said.
Staff writer Tammy Grubb