Why a Land Trust is Better than Up Zoning for Affordable Housing

Why I voted against up zoning city property near City Market…

Last night I voted against upzoning property that the city owns near Moore Square while the rest of Council voted in favor. The rationale given for the upzoning is that the greater entitlement will allow the city to sell the property to a developer with conditions that the developer will provide some “affordable” units.

However, if the city sells the land, then any developer must recoup that cost. And with the price of land downtown, that cost will be high.

If the city really wanted to build affordable housing, then the first step would be to place the land under a land trust similar to what is done in Durham.

With a land trust, the city retains ownership of the land. Then the city contracts with a developer to build affordable units. Because the developer doesn’t pay for the land, that cost is not passed on to the tenants. And because the city owns the land, the city can guarantee affordable housing into the future.

This model is nearly identical to the land trust model used by Durham. It is well tested and it works.Lately, I have been reading about “social cybersecurity” and the tactics used by groups to spread misinformation. Distortion is one of the 16 tactics used to spread misinformation. Distortion works by claiming to do something you never really intend to do.

Up zoning the land to increase the value of the land and passing that cost onto future tenants will never result in affordable housing. The plan will not bring affordable housing no matter what anyone says. Claiming otherwise is a distortion of reality.

For more information about land trusts in Durham follow this link: