Athens City Council discussed the affordability of units within the University Estates Incentive District at its Monday night meeting.

This project will allow for the development of affordable and universal townhome units at University Estates, which will each eventually have a base sale price above $220,000, according to a previous Post report.

The exact price per unit has yet to be determined. The units were originally supposed to be priced at $220,000, but Councilmember Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, explained that a potential $20,000 price increase will be necessary, as the original price points for the project are from 2017 and are not adjusted for inflation and the price of building materials has increased greatly.

Councilmember Arian Smedley, D-1st Ward, expressed concern over the affordability and ability to maintain a universal design for these housing developments.

“If we’re not able to see all of the units as universally designed, the increase is the point I would take issue with,” Smedley said.

At a previous council meeting, Councilmember Beth Clodfelter, D-At Large, said she would prefer the housing units not to be described as affordable, calling the potential $240,000 price tag “laughable” to those who actually need affordable housing. Councilmember Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said at the same meeting that a need was identified in Athens for housing between $225,000 and $240,000.

Council also confirmed Athens Mayor Steve Patterson’s appointment of Kelee Garrison Riesbeck to the Athens Municipal Arts Commission.

“I’m looking at the resume of this very very qualified person, and we certainly are lucky to have someone with all this information and knowledge,” Councilmember Jeff Risner, D-2nd ward, said.

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