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Dave Chappelle has voiced his strong opposition to a new housing development in the small Ohio town where he lives, threatening to pull millions of his investments in the area if the project moves forward.
'You look like clowns -- I am not bluffing,' a visibly emotional Chappelle told the Yellow Springs Village Council at a town meeting on Monday night. 'I will take it all off the table.'
The comedian also told the meeting: '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.'
At issue is a significant new $39 million housing development that has divided the village of 3,700, which is about 20 miles from Dayton.
Chappelle, who is worth an estimated $50 million, lives on the outskirts of Yellow Springs on a 39-acre farm in a three-bedroom home which he bought for $690,000 in 2015.
The new development could potentially reach the border of Chappelle's property, according to zoning plans.
Chappelle has plans to covert an old fire station into a restaurant, called Firehouse Eatery, and comedy club, called Live from YS. He bought both properties for a combined $1.1 million in 2020.
Dave Chappelle was emotional as he spoke at the Yellow Springs Village Council meeting on Monday, opposing a plan that he believes would be bad for the community
Chappelle, who is worth an estimated $50 million, lives on the outskirts of Yellow Springs on a 39-acre farm in a three-bedroom home which he bought for $690,000 in 2015. The new development could potentially reach the border of Chappelle's property, according to zoning plans
Here is an example of the model neighborhood proposed for the Ohio town
The development project he opposes involves more than 100 single-family homes priced from around $250,000 to $600,000, a massive project for the village and one that opponents say does not cater to those currently living there.
Chappelle himself has not articulated the reason for his opposition to the development, but his ally in town has previously said that the project is designed to serve people from elsewhere in the county, rather than Yellow Springs.
'It's clearly not designed for the benefit of the villagers,' architect Max Crome, who works with Chappelle on his business interests in the village, told the Dayton Daily News.
At Monday's meeting, the village council voted against its own plan following Chappelle's tirade and angry remarks from other village residents.
Now it's unclear whether developer Oberer Homes can move forward with the development.
The proposal the council voted on Monday night would have included 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes and 24 townhomes with an additional 1.75 acres to be donated to the community for affordable housing to be built later, according to the Dayton Daily News.
After the council deadlocked on the proposal, the zoning allegedly reverted to what was previously approved: 143 single-family homes on the lot, with the homes starting at about $300,000.
A source close to Chappelle told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that reports that he opposes an affordable housing component of the project are false.
The person said that Chappelle supports affordable housing, but believes the proposal put forward contains nothing of the kind.
'The developers rushed the project, and got a sweetheart deal with council that was not properly vetted,' the person said. 'It doesn't even include affordable housing.'
Affordable housing should cost an average household one-third or less of its total income. The average household in Yellow Springs earns about $61,522-a-year and the average house price is about $215,000.
Chappelle plans to convert a former fire station in town into a restaurant dubbed Firehouse Eatery and attached comedy club, Live From YS
The nightlife complex is being build on the site of an old fire station, but Chappelle is threatening to pull his investment if the housing plan goes forward
Chappelle, who is worth an estimated $50 million, lives on the outskirts of Yellow Springs on a 39-acre farm in a three-bedroom home which he bought for $690,000 in 2015. The new development could potentially reach the border of Chappelle's property, according to the zoning plans
The source close to Chappelle said that he opposed both of the plans, and argued that the underlying zoning rules were 'complex', and that the project would not necessarily be able to move forward along the original plan.
But he has previously spoken out saying that he was 'adamantly opposed' to the project as originally planned.
'I have invested millions of dollars in town. If you push this thing through, what I'm investing in is no longer applicable,' Chappelle said at a city council meeting in December.
He added that the average age in Yellow Springs is 49, and since there is no school in the area, it would be difficult to attract young families.
'The changes are inevitable, but we do have a decision on what they will or could be,' he said.
Chappelle's ties to Ohio go back to his father, who graduated from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, and later was a professor there.
Chappelle lives with his family on 39 acres of secluded farmland outside the village and also owns homes in nearby Xenia.
In late 2020, the comedian announced plans to convert a former fire station in town into a restaurant dubbed Firehouse Eatery and attached comedy club, Live From YS.
Chappelle's company, Iron Table Holdings LLC, is spearheading the project.
As well, WYSO, the National Public Radio affiliate located in Yellow Springs, plans to move into offices in the former Union Schoolhouse, which Iron Table Holdings owns, in 2023.
In October last year, Chappelle faced backlash over transphobic comments he made in his October Netflix comedy special The Closer.
Comedian Dave Chappelle, 48, together with Netflix has faced backlash from the LGBTQ community for remarks made in his latest special
Chappelle courted controversy with his jokes in which he asserts 'gender is a fact,' and criticizes what he says is the thin skin of the trans community.
In the contentious special, Chappelle also jokes that women today view transwomen the same way black people might view white women wearing blackface, and remarked that women are entitled to feel anger toward transwomen, since Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour magazine's 2015 Woman of the Year award.
'I'd be mad as sh*t if I was a woman,' Chappelle says in the show.
The star also jokes about the anatomy of transwomen in the special, joking that they lacked real female reproductive organs and that they did not have blood but 'beet juice.
His comments and Netflix's refusal to pull the comedy special, The Closer, led to protests on the streets of Hollywood.
Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, initially defended Chappelle and said that it did not 'cross the line' on hate speech, despite various organizations including GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition condemning the comedian's comments along with a number of trans Netflix employees.
By November, Chappelle had shrugged the controversy off, telling a sold-out 18,000-strong audience at a screening of his Untitled documentary at the Chase Center in San Francisco that 'it's been a hell of a few weeks'.
'Man, I love being canceled. It's a huge relief!' he joked.
He explained that he was able to ignore the controversy in part because 'I'm rich and famous.'
He added: 'When you're in the eye of the storm, it all just swirls around you.'