Ohio village scraps plan with affordable housing after Dave Chappelle threatens to pull his businesses

An Ohio village Monday failed to approve a zoning ordinance that included dozens of affordable housing units after opposition from comedian Dave Chappelle, who called the Village Council “clowns” and threatened that his business ventures would be “off the table.”

Yellow Springs, Chappelle’s hometown, is the planned site of the entertainer’s restaurant, Firehouse Eatery, and comedy club, Live from YS, which are under development in an old village firehouse, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last year.

Chappelle has previously threatened to pull his business investments from the town if the development were approved as proposed. He has not publicly specified exactly what he opposes in the plan.

The Dayton Daily News reported that at a meeting in December, Chappelle told the council he was “adamantly opposed” and that he has “invested millions of dollars in town,” adding, “If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable.”

Chappelle reiterated his opposition when the zoning change came up for a vote Monday.

At that meeting, according to video posted to the Yellow Springs Community Access YouTube page, Chappelle wondered why the council would pursue the housing plan “while it kicks out a $65 million-a-year company.”

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

With one recusal, only four council members were available, and the vote deadlocked at 2-2, ensuring that the new housing development cannot proceed, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Representatives for Chappelle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Documents posted by the Village Council showed that the proposal was pitched as a way to reduce the cost of housing and allow workers for village services to live near their jobs.

Without the higher-density and affordable home units, council President Brian Housh said in a memo, the starting price for homes in the development could jump by $100,000.

Housh, who voted in favor of the zoning change, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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