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Council supports two affordable housing projects

by Dolores Hamilton
After a lengthy discussion Monday, the Iowa Park City Council voted to support two affordable housing development projects and authorized submission of two applications for 2016 competitive housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Lance Wendel, manager of LW Construction, told the council he is proposing a development for 49 three and four bedroom affordable rental houses in the 1800 and 1900 blocks of Johnson Road, named Cornerstone Ranch Homes. The property is currently in Iowa Park’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), but Wendel said he would favor the property being annexed into the city.
Council members Keith Dyer and Sherrie Williams told Wendel they had received phone calls from residents who are opposed to the project because it could affect property values. “I’m not comfortable with it, I’ve gotten negative feedback already,” Dyer said.
Wendel said the houses are not Section 8 rentals. They are three and four bedroom, 1400 to 1600 sq. ft., brick, single family homes with yards. People who earn 30 to 60 percent of Adjusted Median Gross Income can qualify. The development would have a playground and community room, and periodic inspections to see if they are being maintained.
“For the location, single family homes instead of an apartment complex would go over better,” commented Lori Shierry. “To be successful, you’re going to have to sell the community on it,” Dyer told Wendel. “It’s not the quality of the home but the quality of the inhabitants,” Tim Sheppard added.
The next speaker was Mark Temple who spoke on the Hawks Landing Apartment Development proposed to be build in the 1500 block of Johnson Road. The complex would have 49 affordable and market rate units. It is a gated apartment complex with a community center.
This is the third year this project has been in competition, and Temple said Iowa Park stands a very good chance of being a winner this year.
Sheppard said, “Personally, I would like to support both the apartment complex and the home with a yard.”
Iowa Park Economic Development Director David Owen addressed the council. “I’ve worked with Mark for the past three years, and I would hate for us to do what you are considering right now.” Sheppard asked “Why?”, and Owen replied, “We’re only going to get one project and it would be unfair to bring us up to the forefront and then not see it through with them. I started not to say anything, but as your Economic Director I felt compelled to do so.” Sheppard answered, “I don’t think we are ditching them, we’re going to support them both.”
In other business, the council ordered the City Council General Election for Saturday, May 7, and appointed Frances Leath as Election Judge, and Jerrye Pearce, Alternate Judge.
In a split vote, the council approved a request from Dennis Brooks for a second water meter for his property located outside the city limits.
Brooks said there is a second home on his property where older family members with health problems will live, and the additional meter would go to that house.
Williams told Brooks that she has consistently voted against providing water outside the city limits, and assured him it was nothing personal. Brooks said he understood.
Police Chief Robert Johnson submitted the annual Racial Profiling Report and it was unanimously approved by the council.
First reading was held by the council of a resolution to authorize a $20,000 expenditure by the Iowa Park 4B Community Development Corporation toward the purchase and renovation of an emergency response vehicle for the Iowa Park Volunteer Fire Department.
The city manager was authorized to execute a change order on the North Fork Buffalo Creek Reservoir Boating Access Project to reduce the total amount of the project from $175,245 to $139,245.
No action was taken after a closed session to discuss real property.