Dave Chappelle forces Ohio village to scrap unpopular affordable housing plan: ‘I am not bluffing’

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Yellow Springs, Ohio has voted no on a self-described affordable housing plan after comedian Dave Chappelle threatened to pull his investments and business ventures over it and other residents railed against the proposal during a public hearing on Monday night.

Chappelle is adamantly opposed to the housing plan, according to the Dayton Daily News. He appeared in person at the meeting to make his views known and passionately spoke out against the move.

“I don’t know why the council would be afraid of litigation from a $24 million-a-year company while it’s out a $65 million-a-year company. I cannot believe you would make me audition for you. You look like clowns,” Chappelle angrily remarked from the podium. “I am not bluffing. I will take it all off the table.” He then thanked the council and walked away from the microphone. Chappelle has allegedly not given his reasons for opposing the plan.

Yellow Springs is the planned site of the entertainer’s restaurant, Firehouse Eatery, and comedy club, Live from YS. Both are under development in an old village firehouse, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last year. Chappelle’s company, Iron Table Holdings LLC, bought the former Miami Twp. fire station at 225 Corry St. in December.

Chappelle lives in Yellow Springs. His father worked at a college in the village and the comedian spent summers there growing up. The $39 million housing development has created a rift among residents in the town.

The council evidently had a change of heart and voted to revert back to its original zoning plan that left out the affordable housing component. The original plan included 143 single-family homes that will sell for at least $300,000 each from Oberer Homes. The affordable housing plan proposed 64 single-family homes, 24 townhomes, 52 duplexes, and a donation of 1.75 acres from the developer for future affordable housing.

With one recusal, only four council members were available for the vote and it was deadlocked at 2-2, ensuring that the affordable housing plan would not proceed.

Concerns over the affordable housing plan included traffic flow, problems with a proposed homeowner’s association, and issues with water management. A number of villagers said they also felt that the council had not included them in the process with the developer.

One resident named Matthew Kirk, who is a member of the citizen’s board and worked on the project, said he was initially excited about it but his view on the project “soured.” He contended that the plan was actually two projects rather than one… a single-family home development that was located next to a condo development.

“I think it’s important to kind of understand the framing and also understand how those products attract different homebuyers,” Kirk pointed out.

Chappelle has objected to the plan previously. He spoke up at a December council meeting on the issue informing the council that he has “invested millions of dollars in town,” adding, “If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable.” His stance was strongly reiterated at the Monday meeting.

Zoning plans reportedly show that part of the development may be in close proximity to Chappelle’s 39-acre farm.

As of the 2020 Census, Yellow Springs had a modest population of 3,697. The village is located approximately 20 miles east of Dayton.


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