It seems like the City of Greensboro is constantly asking for public input on something or other.

So it is no surprise that the Greensboro Planning Department is requesting public input on a $1.35 million Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development “to improve housing affordability in Greensboro.”

Greensboro has a well-publicized housing shortage and an even more severe shortage of affordable housing. The grant is to be used to study and propose changes to Greensboro ordinances to encourage residential development to create more housing options.

One of the more controversial zoning ordinance changes that is under consideration is to allow what is now considered multi-family residential units in what is now a single-family residential zoning district, Residential-Single-Family-5 (R-5). What is being considered is allowing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes in R-5 and other zoning districts.  There are also considerations of reducing or eliminating minimum lot size and reducing the required minimum parking across a number of zoning districts.

The application for the grant notes that most of the residential housing in Greensboro falls into two categories – single-family homes or large apartment complexes – and that there is a lack of “middle housing” that is documented in a 2021 “Missing Middle Housing Report.” Middle housing is defined as duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.

The city is in the process of amending zoning ordinances to allow accessory dwelling units, better known as “granny flats,” in single-family zoning districts and the grant would help move this process along. Other cities have had success providing a considerable amount of new housing with limited impact on existing neighborhoods by allowing granny flats in areas that meet the requirements.

The application notes that in 2020 Greensboro had a shortage of 4,000 affordable housing units for low-income residents.

And the application notes that success comes with a cost.  While the over $6.5 billion in announced economic development in the next few years will be a boon to the local economy, it also has the potential to increase that affordable housing shortage to 11,000 by 2030.

The Greensboro Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the grant application at the Monday, Oct. 16 meeting in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber.

The application proposal can be viewed here application proposal .

The city is also requesting people complete a short online survey on the application proposal which is here: this online survey.