‘I Will Take It All Off the Table’: Comedian Dave Chappelle Helps Torpedo Affordable Housing Project In Tiny Ohio Community He Lives In

Comedian Dave Chappelle doesn’t want a new housing development built near his home in southwest Ohio, telling local officials this week a property that size would negatively impact his quality of life.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 30: Dave Chappelle speaks onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame )

Ohio-based Oberer Land Developers approached village officials in Yellow Springs — where Chappelle lives — in November with plans to convert a 53-acre plot of land into a housing complex. The development spot, near Yellow Springs High School, would include townhomes, duplexes, single-family homes and affordable housing units. Yellow Springs residents, including Chappelle, told village officials in December they believe the development would increase traffic around their homes and make it unsafe for children to walk home from school, the Yellow Springs News reported.

Chappelle said the land should be used for other reasons and added that he’s “adamantly opposed” to Oberer’s plan. Chappelle didn’t say exactly why he opposes Oberer’s plan, however.

Oberer bought the land it plans to develop in November 2020.

Oberer’s development, among other things, is slated to include retention ponds, a public park, 143 single-family homes priced at more than $300,000 each, village documents show. Yellow Springs has a population of roughly 4,000, and residents who support Oberer said the development might attract more families to the village.

“We should use more of a visionary eye instead of a reactionary one because the potential of this place is immense and Oberer is not the only solution,” the comedian told village officials in December.

Chappelle announced last year that he plans to open a comedy club and restaurant in Yellow Springs. The land for Chappelle’s planned businesses is not on Oberer property but it is very nearby. Chappelle hasn’t disclosed how much money it will cost to open his businesses, but he hinted at a figure during a village planning commission meeting in December.

Chappelle told the commission he would no longer invest in Yellow Springs — a small town 30 minutes east of Dayton — if Oberer’s proposal gets the OK.

“Obviously I live behind the development, or the proposed development,” he said. “I do have many business interests in town. I’ve invested millions of dollars in town. If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable. And Oberer can come and buy all this property from me if they want to be your benefactor because I will no longer.”

The proposed development got the green light from the planning commission and was sent to the Yellow Springs village Council for a final vote. Chappelle attended the Council’s meeting on Feb. 7 and again voiced his concerns. Before the vote, Chappelle reminded council members about his promise to pull back on future investments.

“I am not bluffing,” he said. “I will take it all off the table.”

The five-member council approved Oberer’s development 2-2 but removed the affordable housing component, the Dayton Daily News reported. Council member Kevin Stokes recused himself from voting because he also lives near the planned development.

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