Lambeth Apartment resolution approved by City Council

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | 12:19 a.m. CDT; updated 11:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 18, 2012

COLUMBIA — City Council unanimously approved a resolution for 47 apartments between Clark Lane and Lambeth Drive on Monday night.

The partnership between the Columbia Housing Authority and New Horizons Community Support Services would provide one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for low-income individuals, some of whom have mental disabilities.

The apartments would target individuals who earn between 40 percent and 60 percent of the median family income in Boone County, according to a previous Missourian article.

During a meeting Thursday, members of the White Gate Neighborhood Association voiced concerns about the proposed apartments, citing negative views of people with mental disabilities and low-income residents. Now, the residents approve the development plan, as long as their concerns were included in the proposal, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl said.

Columbia Housing Authority CEO Phil Steinhaus said slight modifications to the agreement were made by attorneys before presenting the proposal to the council. A condition for fencing along the entire west side of the lot was not possible due to watershed considerations.

"In essence, it carries what the neighbors wanted for us and and the development," Steinhaus said.

"Everything they asked for was in the proposal," Kespohl added.

Mary Hussmann, organizer for Grassroots Organizing, expressed some concerns about the proposed apartments. She asked why the proposal was not discussed during regular Housing Authority board of commissioners meetings and why the public was not invited to the White Gate Neighborhood Association meeting.

"We're all neighbors here, when you have public housing," Hussmann said. "I know that many other interested community members would have attended a meeting like this."

Greg Ahrens of the White Gate Neighborhood Association expressed concerns about sufficient lighting, convenient bus routes and a safe sidewalk for the proposed apartments. Ahrens said he did not receive notification of the Thursday meeting.

Steinhaus described a proposal to extend Clark Lane's sidewalk for pedestrian safety.

A tax-credit funding application, due Friday, will be submitted to the Missouri Housing Development Commission. A decision to accept or reject the application will be made Dec. 21, according to previous Missourian reporting.

If the tax credit application is approved, construction could begin six to nine months later, according to a document from the Housing Authority.

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Phil Steinhaus September 20, 2012 | 6:06 p.m.

Ms. Hussmann is incorrect. The CHA Board discussed this partnership with New Horizons Community Support Services at both its July 19, 2012; August 21, 2012; and September 18, 2012 open meetings. The actual housing site was not made public until New Horizons reached an agreement for site control with the owners. The property will only be purchased if the application for low-income housing tax credits is approved by the MHDC.

This is not considered public housing as Ms. Hussmann states, but rather a low-income housing tax credit project that will ensure low rents for persons at or below 60% of the median family income (MFI) for the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Public housing is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and targets households with income at or below 30% of the MFI. Public housing residents pay rent based on income. Low-Income Tax Credit Housing has low, fixed rents that are affordable, but not considered Public Housing.

Phil Steinhaus, CEO
Columbia Housing Authority

(Report Comment)
Trevor McDonald September 21, 2012 | 2:46 p.m.

Thank you for your comment, Mr. Steinhaus. The information you presented offers excellent details regarding the differences between public housing and affordable housing.

Trevor McDonald
Reporter, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)

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