Dave Chappelle Helps Kill Affordable Housing Plan by Threatening to Pull His Businesses From Ohio Town

"I am not bluffing, I will take it all off the table," the comedian said

Dave Chappelle at Paris Fashion Week in France in January 2022. In February, the comedian helped kill an affordable housing plan in his hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Dave Chappelle outside Dior during Paris Fashion Week in January.
Getty Images

The town of Yellow Springs, Ohio has reportedly voted down a proposed plan to build affordable housing after its most famous resident, comedian Dave Chappelle, threatened to pull his business investments from the area.

The village, which is Chappelle’s hometown, had worked with Oberer Homes on a proposed development that would include a mix of duplexes, single-family homes and affordable housing spread across 53 acres, according to the Dayton Daily News. The plan was for 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes and 24 townhomes to be built, with an additional 1.75 acres to be set aside for affordable housing to be built on later.

However, Chappelle and other residents voiced their opposition to the affordable housing aspect of the plan in a city council meeting on Monday, and the comedian insisted that if the plan was approved, he’d yank his various business dealings — which he described as “a $65 million-a-year company” — from Yellow Springs. He reportedly has plans to open a restaurant called the Firehouse Eatery and a comedy club called Live from YS in the village.

“I cannot believe you would make me audition for you,” Chappelle said during the council meeting. “You look like clowns. I am not bluffing, I will take it all off the table.” 

In response, the council voted 2-2 with one abstention, meaning that the zoning will revert to a previously approved plan for 143 single-family homes on the lot. The prices for the homes will reportedly start at about $300,000.

This isn’t the first time Chappelle has voiced his opposition to the affordable housing plan. According to Rolling Stone, at a council meeting last December, Chappelle said he was “adamantly opposed” to the project. “I’ve invested millions of dollars in town,” he said. “If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable. I would say that Oberer can buy all of this property from me if they want to be your benefactor because I will no longer want to.”

Of course, no one in the town has come out and said “we don’t want poor people to live here and drive our property value down.” Instead, Chappelle and others who are opposed to the plan have cited their concerns over increased traffic, a lack of sidewalks and the general setup of the development. But whatever the reasons are, the optics of a multi-millionaire — one who once famously walked away from a $50 million deal with Comedy Central — refusing to entertain the idea of living near affordable housing are obviously not great.

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