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Council approves funding for low-income housing

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | 11:04 p.m. CST; updated 12:13 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 20, 2010

COLUMBIA — Cozy Cottages developer Amir Ziv smiled and thanked the City Council Tuesday night for helping his project along as it reaches the year-and-a-half mark.

Council members unanimously approved an agreement that grants up to $10,000 of federal funding to install 8-inch sewer lines and a manhole on his proposed property. The funding comes from the Community Development Block Grant, which is reserved for low-income areas. 

Ziv wants to build three 870-square-feet cottage style homes on Ridgeway Avenue on what was originally a single lot. The homes are targeted towards low-income home-owners.

The grant money represents a turn from Ziv’s original plan. In a previous Missourian report, he said he wanted to complete the project independently and “not rely on the city to give (him) money.”

Ziv said he is happy with the agreement because the funds benefit his development but go through the Public Works Department instead of his hands.

“If I would have had to do this myself, it would have cost me a lot of money,” Ziv said. “The whole process has cost me a lot of money.”

Ziv unsuccessfully lobbied the council to waive the 8-inch sewer and manhole requirement on properties zoned as planned unit developments because his development is unlike the usual large subdivisions that receive the same zoning designations.

Because the Public Works Department is installing the sewer, Ziv said he is happy that he won't have to go through the process of contracting it himself and ensuring it is done in accordance with city regulations.

“There are no real strings attached," he said. "We’re not going to get in each other’s way.”

Ziv must ensure that a majority of those that benefit from the housing project earn a low to moderate income, according to the agreement.

“I want to make the city proud with this project,” Ziv said. “I want the city to see that there is a future in it.”


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