Historic District vs Affordable Housing on Martin Luther King Ave, SE

From an email:

“Outrageous/Detrimental District Emergency Legislation

What: Developer Seeking Exemptions in Ward 8 Historic District — can set precedent for other historic communities & has far reaching implications

Legislative Hearing Date: April 8, 2014

Emergency Big K Legislation to City Council

This District emergency resolution attached above is not acceptable. It is targeted at present, to the residential development proposed at the commercial corridor on Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE. Which is also in the Historic District.

It’s content is based on unfounded fear mongering, and is beneath the City and pandering. Near term development along the Historic District of Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE is inevitable and occurring. Language in the Resolution is attempting to create poor, substandard outcomes with old, stale facts.

Where developers want to establish affordable housing developments in historic districts, to preserve the City’s heritage, they must be compelled to accomplish the developments within the reasonable historic guidelines. Passage of the legislative, as is, has the potential to alter the landscape of the historic district. The present language is sweeping and broad.

If this developer wants to again reap significant, quick financial gains from the City, then it must comply and develop a quality, historic property that will be a contributor to the historic community, and serve as a legacy to the developers commitment to a City that has given him opportunities. To do so would not be a material impact on his bottom line. There needs to be a fair business deal, not a win-lose proposition.

Further, the legislation cites DHCD as a proponent. DHCD can not be in the business of checking boxes, and quickly eliminating To-Do tasks. They must be thoughtful, and focused on the best outcomes for the City. They have not been forthcoming with themselves or the community regarding this matter. The accepted bid does not following the distributed RFP, and they were negligent in their obligation to notify the public. It is obvious they have chosen politics over what is best for the City. So to cite their support in the Resolution is an added insult.

Futhermore, the ANC is well aware of this project and actively engaged in the matter; as are other City historic groups who do not support this resolution.

I would also be remiss not to note that federal Housing and Urban Development agency states, high levels of concentration of low income individuals and families is no longer a best practice for housing developments. This project proposes a model contrary to this. There is land available throughout Ward 8 to support additional low-income housing projects, so to act as if this singular, relatively small project will save Ward 8 is disingenuous (in my mind, no residential project in the District should exceed 50% – 60% low-income). Further the Council must be challenged to ensure that affordable housing exist in similar proportions throughout this great City.”

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