Casually strolling around the quaint main street of his historic home village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, it’s clear Dave Chappelle is a man in his element.
And the comedian has a new reason to feel particularly content, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The celebrity, who is worth $50million, has now permanently blocked a proposed 140-home development on his doorstep – and it’s understood he has paid an undisclosed sum to buy the entire 52-acre site.
Just days ago it was believed Chappelle had purchased only 19 acres directly abutting his palatial mansion just outside Yellow Springs, where he grew up.
But village manager Josue Salmeron revealed to DailyMail.com: ‘I have confirmation that Dave Chappelle bought the entire lot. We are talking about all the 52 acres.
‘To me it is clear, the project isn’t going forward. The developers will not be building on that land.’
Dave Chappelle was spotted out and about this week in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he has been fighting against a proposed property development
Chappelle spoke with DailyMail.com reporter Greg Woodfield as he strolled through his home town of Yellow Springs, Ohio dressed in black shorts and a black and gray top advertising a Memphis restaurant
DailyMail.com visited the small Ohio community of 3,700, where it is evident the comedian is a beloved figure and friend among all residents
Salmeron emphasized that while he had confirmation that development company Oberer does not own the land any more, he does not have a public record to show Chappelle now owns all 52 acres.
Chappelle’s move has also delighted many in the village, particularly those living near the proposed development which would have brought at least 400 new people into a community of 3,700.
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.
Similar signs adorn businesses on Yellow Springs’ main shopping thoroughfare of Xenia Avenue, which is lined with quirky individual stores occupying red brick buildings with wooden shop fronts, many painted in soothing pastel shades.
Business owners told DailyMail.com they also serve to thank the celebrity for helping the village – which has a distinct elderly hippy bohemian vibe – with a series of cash-boosting star-packed comedy shows when the Covid-19 pandemic brought things to a standstill.
Now the village, 20 miles east of Dayton, is bustling once more with people walking dogs, others carrying takeout coffees and talking animatedly, and some walking barefoot and wearing blankets.
The main drag is buzzing with activity. There is a theatre, a toy shop, a fancy used book store, a flower shop, cozy diners, an ‘imports’ store, a wooden arcade offering several different businesses, and the elegant white clapboard Mills Park Hotel.
However, the collapse of the housing project has nonetheless dismayed Salmeron who believes the development would have helped Yellow Springs’ ‘housing problem’ – plus given the village a massive payday through property taxes.
Chappelle has now bought 52 acres of land for an undisclosed sum in the small Ohio village of Yellow Springs where he lives and plans to build his own restaurant and comedy venue
Dave Chappell’s home in Yellow Spring, Ohio where he is reported to have bought 52 acres of land adjacent to his property to stop a new housing development
Earlier reports claimed the celebrity had purchased only 19 acres of land directly butting onto his palatial mansion just outside Yellow Springs, where he grew up
It’s understood he has now bought the entire 52-acre site, canceling plans for the project completely
A rendering of the model neighborhood proposed by Oberer Land Developers for Yellow Springs. Oberer had planned to build 140 single family homes on the site, which some locals believed would encroach on the village’s culture
The new development would have potentially reached the border of Chappelle’s property, according to zoning plans. The comedian has now purchased the southern portion of this land
‘We are becoming an exclusive community. That is not a good thing,’ he said.
DailyMail.com caught up with Chappelle, 48, as he exited Emporium Wines on Xenia Avenue, a business that is part liquor store, part bakery.
The comic was asked about his long-fought opposition to the housing plan by local company Oberer Land Developers.
Clutching an iced drink while dressed in black shorts and a black and gray top advertising a Memphis restaurant, he smiled broadly and was genial.
But he would only say: ‘Ah, I’d rather not talk about that. I’m just out and about in the village, I’ve really nothing to say.’
It’s clear the comedy legend, who fought the development plans because he said they were out of keeping for the village, is among friends and good company when he makes his daily visits to grab a coffee and other essentials when he’s at home.
Driving a $150,000 red Mercedes G Wagon on Tuesday, Chappelle parked and dropped into Dino’s Cappuccinos for a drink, then headed to Current Cuisine deli to order a sandwich.
While he was waiting he sat outside on his phone before shooting the breeze with locals.
The next day, he went to the only supermarket in town, Tom’s, before getting a cold drink from Dino’s Cappuccinos and strolling along the street shaking people’s hands – later being greeted by a woman who shouted: ‘We love you Dave.’
Certainly her sentiment is not out of place.
Walking around the neighborhood, it is clear Chappelle is an adored figure in Yellow Springs, where he lives with wife Elaine and where his father William was an active civil rights organizer and music professor at local Antioch College.
Dino Pallotta, owner of Dino’s Cappuccinos where Chappelle is a regular, applauded his celebrity customer for defending the village’s culture
Yellow Springs’ main shopping thoroughfare, Xenia Avenue, is lined with quirky individual stores occupying red brick buildings with wooden shop fronts, many painted in soothing pastel shades
Chappelle’s efforts to block the housing project have pleased many residents who are now showing their gratitude by erecting lawn signs reading ‘Thanks Dave!’ on their property
A Thanks Dave sign in Yellow Springs, Ohio
On Thursday, when DailyMail.com spoke to the comic, he was driven in from his expansive home set amid rolling fields by a female assistant at the wheel of a white people carrier.
Almost constantly on his phone, he also strolled up to the village’s former Union Schoolhouse, which he is in the process of turning into a base for Ohio’s WYSO National Public Radio affiliate.
And that is just one of the projects Chappelle is throwing money at in a bid to revitalize a village, his representative told us, that he believes is in desperate need of vibrant younger people.
One of the others is his plan to convert a former firehouse into a restaurant and comedy club. It was this investment that he threatened to pull at a local council meeting in February when he spoke out against the housing development.
Developers Oberer originally wanted to build all single family homes and the February meeting was to consider including duplex properties and some affordable housing. The proposal, however, was rejected.
The canceled project comes to the dismay of village manager Josue Salmeron who believes it would’ve helped the village’s ‘housing problem’
That was after Chappelle, whose own company is called Iron Table Holdings, expressed his opposition to the plan at a village council meeting, threatening to take his businesses from the area.
‘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,’ he said.
At a meeting two months earlier, he said: ‘I have invested millions of dollars in this town. If you push this thing through, what I’m investing is in no longer applicable.’
Later he made clear he was not against the social housing element proposed in February, although he did not go into more detail.
The duplexes would have sold for around $250,000 while the individual units would have been priced at $600,000.
Chappelle’s publicist Carla Sims now exclusively tells DailyMail.com the ‘cookie cutter’ homes planned were out of keeping with village’s individual style – and were designed simply for ‘interlopers’.
And she said it was Chappelle’s own efforts to help Yellow Springs that ironically drew the developers in.
She added: ‘The houses they were going to build were not affordable to the people who live in the village.
‘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.
Walking around the neighborhood, it becomes immediately obvious that the celebrity comedian is a beloved figure in his town
Chappelle was snapped stopping by his regular spots to pick up an iced beverage before shooting the breeze with some locals
Chapelle is seen hanging out with friends on a property with his flags and lawn signs with his signature Chappelle logo
Chappelle is a familiar and popular face around tiny Yellow Spring, Ohio, where he has donated millions of dollars for community projects
‘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.’
Sims insisted: ‘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.’
Of the land purchase, she said: ‘This development was bordering his property and Dave ended up buying the land back.
‘He doesn’t have to do anything with it. It’s designated as rural.’
Sims said she could not say how much Chappelle paid for the land.
She continued: ‘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.’
Oddly, there is now a question mark over plans for the Live From YS comedy club at the old fire station site. Chappelle bought the central village location for $1.1million in 2020.
Sims said: ‘The comedy club is definitely on hold. We’ll probably make an announcement pretty soon. When the plan was announced, that is when all the developers started flocking around.
‘I think that is probably not going to happen there in Yellow Springs. Dave will probably look to do that stuff outside the area.’
The rep could not confirm any details regarding the restaurant.
‘Dave put a lot of that on hold and he is revisiting,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t want to be a controversial figure in the community.
‘He wants to assess the possible effect on the village of any attention.’
DailyMail.com caught up with Chappelle, 48, this week as he exited Emporium Wines on Xenia Avenue, that is part liquor store, part bakery
Chappelle frequents nearly all the businesses in Yellow Springs. He sat and enjoyed a tea from Dino’s Cappucinosand a cigarette while scrolling through his phone
Chappelle lives in the mansion with his wife Elaine. The small Ohio village is also where his father William was an active civil rights organizer and music professor at local Antioch College
However, village manager Salmeron told DailyMail.com that Chappelle’s company had applied for a building permit for the site within the past few days.
The community executive also explained his ‘disappointment’ about the housing development being shelved.
‘I’m unhappy on several fronts that this project isn’t going ahead,’ he said.
‘We have housing goals that we have been trying to meet for years. There is a national housing crisis problem with the affordability challenge and in Yellow Springs it is even greater.
‘We had a housing needs assessment done in 2018 and that report identified a need for 500 units. The village hasn’t had significant growth over the years and part of that is because we have no housing assets.
‘The study said we need housing for moderate incomes, high incomes, apartments, senior housing. We need a little bit of everything.
‘And this was a way of getting 140 units to come on line at one time. Not only did it address a housing shortage and help bring in supply for a high demand market but it would have helped to expand the tax base through property taxes.’
Yellow Springs has a public elementary, middle and high school. ‘And those schools are also funded by income tax, through one per cent of earned income,’ said Salmeron.
‘We ran some numbers and estimated that over 60 per cent of households in the new development would be actively earning an income.’
Former nutritionist Samantha Logan,82, and husband James Barber are among the locals proudly displaying a ‘Thanks, Dave!’ sign on their lawn
And on Chappelle’s mission to preserve the nature of the village but give it a more youthful feel, Salmeron insisted the entertainer’s approach was actually preventing young people from living there.
‘When you have a limited housing supply you become an exclusive community. Yellow Springs is becoming an exclusive community.
‘While I appreciate the intent of preserving the culture identity of the village, it is also keeping the possible future generations of Yellow Springs out of the community,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘We are getting older, our community on average is older than the median age of Ohio residents. It’s wealthier and it’s whiter.
‘Those demographic trends are not going to change unless we offer new opportunities for individuals to move into town or be able to grow in town.’
Residents of the homes that dot the landscape are euphoric however.
Former nutritionist Samantha Logan and husband James Barber proudly display a ‘Thanks, Dave!’ sign on their lawn.
‘It’s there because absolutely we support what Dave has done in buying that land,’ Samantha, 82, told DailyMail.com.
‘He has done so much for our neighborhood and invested so much in our town that we felt it was the least we could do.’
She added: ‘Putting 140 houses out there probably wasn’t the best thing for our peace and quiet.
‘On the other hand, we feel there was not enough provision for low cost housing in that plan.
In February, Dave Chappelle was emotional as he spoke at the Yellow Springs Village Council opposing a plan that he believes would be bad for the community, and also neighboring his own home
Chappelle has his own 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 was threatening to pull his investment if the housing plan went forward
‘So it didn’t serve any purpose but to line the pockets of the developer. It was just intrusive to the neighborhood.’
Husband James, who was dean of the graduate school at Antioch College and worked with Dave’s father William said: ‘I have mixed emotions.
‘I don’t know if he’s protecting just himself or saving us. However, the consequences benefit us. If he is protecting himself, there is nothing wrong with that either.’
Meanwhile at Dino’s Cappuccinos in the village center, owner Dino Pallotta applauded his celebrity customer. ‘You just missed him, he came in earlier,’ he said.
‘That development just wasn’t up to the quality of what the village is looking for and needs. There has been a lot of misrepresentation about that the dispute was over affordable housing. That was never the case.
‘It was simply about large housing developments coming in. Dave buying that land? It was an opportunity – it’s what works for him.
‘Dave has done such a lot for us here. The shows he brought in during Covid when village businesses were struggling were phenomenal.’
DailyMail.com contacted Oberer Land Developers at their headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, but the company refused to provide a representative to comment.