Fearful Symmetries

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29 October, 2013

NIMBYism in Lake Edge

The Cap Times published an article today by Mike Ivey called "Royster Corners fights perception about density of low-income housing" which was prompted by a recent meeting between the developers and the neighborhood. The project replaces the Royster-Clark fertilizer factory which was torn down a couple of years ago and will feature apartments, single family homes, and retail space. According to Ivey's account of the meeting, "some neighbors were focused solely on the apartment being built with Section 42 affordable housing tax credits." Ivey then adds:

The apartments in question are billed as “workforce housing” priced for households at 60 or 80 percent of the Dane County Area Median Income ("AMI"). For a one-person household, 80 percent of the AMI works out to $45,100. For a family of four, it's $64,400.

Ahrens notes that most of the 60 percent units are aimed at people with disabilities or families with a disabled family member.


The whole situation comes across as whites in the neighborhood expressing dismay at an influx of people of color while the neighborhood's alderman, David Ahrens, tries to quell those fears by noting that the lowest-income housing in this project will mostly be populated by disabled people and their families with "disabled" being a code word for nice, quiet, and white. I was not at the meeting in question nor do I pretend to know what's in the hearts of those neighbors who were focused on the "workforce housing". But I do know that this country is no stranger to housing segregation and that subsidized housing is often associated with people of color. What concerns of people focused on the subsidized housing alone are addressed by noting that much of it will be going to disabled people and their families?

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|| Palmer, 9:23 PM

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