Charleston, SC

Charleston council plans to build 16,000 "micro-apartments" to solve affordable housing crisis, but there's a catch

Kristen Walters

Would you be able to live in a 250 square foot micro apartment?
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Currently, the city of Charleston has a shortage of more than 16,000 affordable housing units. However, city council members have debated the issue in recent months and have proposed a plan to build thousands of tiny apartments or "micro-units" throughout the city.

While this could be a very good thing for some residents who have struggled to find an affordable place to live, there are some drawbacks.

First, the tiny apartments would not include parking spaces for residents. Therefore, those living in the new units would need to rely on public transit or get around by foot, bicycle or use a ride share service. Second, the proposed units will be between 250 and 375 square feet, so they will likely not be appropriate for larger families.

Currently, the city of Charleston has a local zoning ordinance that requires new apartments to provide parking to residents. However, according to councilman Ross Appel, the current parking requirement is one of the biggest hurdles developers face when constructing affordable housing units.

The city council is currently working to change the zoning requirement so that developers can lawfully build affordable housing units without parking spots.

If the "micro-unit" housing project is approved, the buildings will have to meet additional requirements. For example, they must be built within three-quarters of a mile of a grocery store and within one-quarter mile of a bus stop. This is essential to ensure that residents have reasonable access to food and transportation.

Councilman Appel noted, "these micro-units will not be for everybody, but they'll be good for some people."

Do you think building thousands of tiny apartments will help solve the city's affordable housing crisis?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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