Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle isn’t joking about pulling his investments from the small Ohio town he resides in, if the city council pushes through a housing development he opposes.
Chappelle appeared irate when he took the mic in front of a small crowd at the Yellow Springs Village Council meeting on Monday night.
“I don’t know why the council would be afraid of litigation from a $24 million-a-year company while it’s out a $64 million-a-year-company. I cannot believe you would make me audition for you,” he told town leaders.
“You look like clowns… I am not bluffing,” he threatened. “I will take it all off the table.”
Chappelle bought a 39-acre farm in the area in 2015 and purchased two commercial properties for $1.1 million in the village. He plans to turn one into a comedy club called Live from YS, and convert the defunct fire station he purchased into a restaurant called Firehouse Eatery.
The $39 million housing development he spoke in opposition of seeks to erect 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes, 24 townhomes, and includes a plot of 1.75 acres, donated by the town, to build affordable housing down the line.
The properties would be priced at $250,000 to $600,000, which an architect working with Chappelle on his commercial projects said is “clearly not designed for the benefit of the villagers,” as they would be priced out of the area.
The average home price in Yellow Springs is $215,000, while the average household takes in less than $62,000.
In a December meeting Chappelle said he was “adamantly opposed” to the proposed development, which would border his property.
“I do have many business interests in town, I’ve invested millions of dollars in town,” he remarked. “If you push this thing through, what I’m investing is no longer applicable.”
He said that the developer might as well purchase his commercial properties if the proposal goes forward, because he will no longer complete the projects.
Chappelle also pointed out that the average age of town residents is 49, and without a school in the area, they will not attract young families, and “this city will not live beyond the retirees that decide to settle here.”
He concluded that “changes are inevitable, but we do have a decision on what they will or could be,” and that the housing development is not the only solution.