Dave Chappelle’s neighbors cheered him after Chappelle bought the entire 52-acre lot near his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to block a proposed 140-home development.
The amount Chappelle, who is estimated to be worth $60 million, paid for the area is undisclosed.
“I have confirmation that Dave Chappelle bought the entire lot. We are talking about all the 52 acres,” village manager Josue Salmeron told the Daily Mail. “To me it is clear, the project isn’t going forward. The developers will not be building on that land.”
“Signs proclaiming ‘Thanks Dave!’ now festoon several properties near the site, which is comprised of a large open field and acres of woodland in an area that could be comfortably described as pastoral bliss,” the Daily Mail added.
In February, Chappelle told the village council where he lives, “You look like clowns,” as he voiced his opposition to the town accepting a developer’s plan to build single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses near his property.
At a town meeting of the Yellow Springs Village Council, Chappelle stated, “I just want to say, and Marianne [council member Marianne MacQueen], I can talk to you about this privately, I don’t know why the village council would be afraid of litigation from a $24 million-a year-company while it kicks out a $65 million-a-year-company. I cannot believe you would make me audition for you; You look like clowns — I am not bluffing, I will take it all off the table. … Thank you.”
The $65 million company Chappelle referred to was apparently his company Iron Table Holdings LLC, which bought a local fire station in late 2021 and planned to convert it into a restaurant called “Firehouse Eatery” with an attached comedy club called “Live From YS.”
The $24 million company was apparently the developer Oberer Land Developers, which submitted the proposal for a new housing development valued at roughly $39 million.
“The village and Oberer had worked together to produce a plan that would include duplexes and affordable housing along with single-family homes in a 53-acre area along Spillan Road at the south edge of town,” the Dayton Daily News reported. “The village initially asked for the development to advance affordable housing in the village, including an area that the village would later be able to develop into affordable housing, as well as more duplexes and townhomes.”
The Daily News stated that the proposed development 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.”
Ultimately, the village council voted 2-2 with one abstention on the proposed development, meaning that the zoning reverts to the previous plan, with 143 single-family homes.
In December, the council held a Zoom meeting to discuss the planned unit development (PUD) proposed by Oberer Land Developers, which had purchased the land in November 2020, prompting the village to annex the land in order to increase its tax base. As the Yellow Springs News reported, Planning Commission member Sarah Sinclair-Amend expressed her concern about the increased traffic, saying, “This is a very narrow road and it was not built to be more than a country road.”
Chappelle chimed in, “I’ve invested millions of dollars in town. 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.”
He concluded, “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 houses they were going to build were not affordable to the people who live in the village,” Chappelle’s publicist Carla Sims told the Daily Mail. “It was going to attract interlopers. Dave was trying to make sure that the people that live in Yellow Springs can stay and afford to live in Yellow Springs. This development was not going to do that.”
Yellow Springs is a small village, seven blocks left and right and you’re out of it. It’s even a little bit of a hippy town. It’s a unique space and once developers got wind of the culture that Dave was creating in the village, it became apparent they thought, hey, we can make money here.
Dave is not at all against building in Yellow Springs and neither is the community. They want to see development that is aligned with maintaining the culture of the village. Most of the people in the town, you’ll see, they are older. The majority of that town is 50 years and older. And Dave is trying to encourage younger people to move into the town.
He wants better schools and to bring younger families into the town. This was an arts community, now it’s turning into a retirement community. Dave wants to restore the art and cultural aspect of the community. And you need young and energetic thinkers to do that.
Dave wants to have a place he can live comfortably. And not have to duck and dive. He is very much a part of the fabric of that community. When the basketball team needed uniforms, he bought the uniforms. He does what’s needed to support the community and by and large they support him.