Unified Development Ordinance could add affordable housing

Unified Development Ordinance could add affordable housing

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville City Council President Alex Burton is hoping a new ordinance will pass that will allow more affordable homes to be built in the community.

We spoke with Burton Monday afternoon about why he feels this could make a big impact on the Fourth Ward.

He says the neighborhood on Bedford Avenue could really benefit from the Unified Development Ordinance.

There are at least 10 vacant lots there and vacant homes as well. Neighbors tell us it brings their property value down.

Having lived on Bedford Avenue for decades, Kathy Miller remembers a much different time.

“I remember as a kid, I was able to ride my bike around, going down to Zesto’s, get ice cream you know, whatever," Miller said. “But now, you can’t even walk to Zesto’s to get a hamburger without somebody grabbing your purse."

City Council President Alex Burton believes building “tiny homes” on these lots could help clean up the neighborhood.

“On a block that once housed 16 homes, under current ordinance, only eight homes would be able to be built," Burton said. “My angle is, if 16 homes once stood there, we need to try and get 16 homes back on that lot."

An outside consulting group is working on the Unified Development Ordinance and, if passed, would make that possible. It may not be ready until November, but Burton is confident it would create more affordable housing across the city.

“You don’t want a tiny home next to a brick home in Lincolnshire," Burton tells us. “The goal is for the homes that are going to be built in the City of Evansville to go in conjunction with the landscape of the existing neighborhood.”

After hearing from Burton himself, many residents like Miller are on board.

“I think it’s a great idea because this is a run-down neighborhood. There are all kinds of things the city could do to improve all of these neighborhoods, not just my neighborhood," said Miller.

The Unified Development Ordinance is still being drafted up, and Burton believes it should be ready to be presented to the city council in November.

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