Dave Chappelle squashes affordable housing plan with threat to pull business
Multimillionaire comedian Dave Chappelle has helped stop an Ohio town’s plan to expand affordable housing. The Yellow Springs City Council was voting on a new project from developer Oberer Homes that would have seen a 53-acre project focused on affordable housing, with 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes, and 24 townhomes, together with 1.75 acres to be donated to the community for future affordable housing.
The proposal was intended to allow Yellow Springs service workers to live closer to their jobs and avoid long commutes that sap their already low wages.
Chappelle, who has an office in the town and plans to open a restaurant and comedy club in the area, clearly wasn’t happy. Check out his appearance in person at the meeting before the vote:
“I don’t know why the village council would be afraid of litigation from a $24m a year company while it’s out a $65m a year company. I cannot believe you would make me audition for you. You look like clowns. I am not bluffing. I will take it all off the table. That’s all.”
The council subsequently voted 2-2 against the proposal, meaning that the development will now revert to the original plan of 143 single-family homes with a starting price of $300,000.
It comes after Chappelle has pushed back hard against the affordable housing plans, previously telling the council:
“I just want to say I am adamantly opposed to it. I have invested millions of dollars in town. If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable.”
Though “affordable” housing is a very elastic term with a wide umbrella, Chappelle’s intervention has been widely regarded as classic NIMBY-ism. Of course, the justification for opposing the plans isn’t explicit about not wanting poorer people to live in the area, but rather “concerns” about sewage and water management. But anyone who’s followed these kinds of stories over the years will know all about that particular tactic.
After all, it doesn’t matter if you flip burgers or are one of the most successful comedians on the planet, what you flush down the toilet is the same as everybody else.