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East End is roiled as mixed-income housing plans advance

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East End is roiled as mixed-income housing plans advance

 

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The East End unfolds next to downtown as a patchwork of luxury townhomes, rusty warehouses, car shops and hipster bars. The Houston Housing Authority aims to add something the area has never seen: a pair of apartment complexes where low-income residents would live in the same buildings as working-class Houstonians and young professionals.

 

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20 hours ago, downtownian said:

 

It wouldn't bother me if this also put 5,000 units in river oaks.

 

 

River Oaks would boycott if one mixed income house popped up. 

 

The amount that this area gets screwed by the city is unimaginable. I've lived all over Houston and i'm in this area now. There has never been a neighborhood I've lived in that's been more of a dumping ground for the city's unwanted projects than over in this area. Whether it's soup kitchens, low income housing, monthly bike rides, dump sights, the city just leaves it here all in a particular mile and a half radius surrounding Navigation and East of 59 and says it's to combat gentrification. 

Edited by I'm Not a Robot
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2 hours ago, I'm Not a Robot said:

 

 

River Oaks would boycott if one mixed income house popped up. 

 

The amount that this area gets screwed by the city is unimaginable. I've lived all over Houston and i'm in this area now. There has never been a neighborhood I've lived in that's been more of a dumping ground for the city's unwanted projects than over in this area. Whether it's soup kitchens, low income housing, monthly bike rides, dump sights, the city just leaves it here all in a particular mile and a half radius surrounding Navigation and East of 59 and says it's to combat gentrification. 

 

Monthly bike rides are one of the city's unwanted projects?

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58 minutes ago, august948 said:

 

Monthly bike rides are one of the city's unwanted projects?

 

Absolutely and the fact that you even have to ask tells me you don't live in the area. Once a month I have to plan my Friday around thousands of loud bicyclists taking over the streets literally preventing me from being able to access my home and then returning around 11 PM making tons of noise and being rambunctious. Critical Mass was kicked out of downtown and moved to the Heights. They didn't make it one week before being forced to move to East End.

 

 

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Critical Mass rides all over the city and it doesn't take hours to wait for them to pass. I rather enjoyed seeing them ride down Sunset when I lived there. Much rather them than the folks driving 50 mph in a residential area.

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11 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

Critical Mass rides all over the city and it doesn't take hours to wait for them to pass. I rather enjoyed seeing them ride down Sunset when I lived there. Much rather them than the folks driving 50 mph in a residential area.

Critical Mass doesn't bother me, don't they usually meet at D&W's? I've been able to drive past to my home and watch them sometimes pass outside my window. It's really not a big deal and pretty cool to see some of the custom bikes.

 

Anyhow, much preferred to the car thieves on bikes who ride around at 2 & 3 am.

 

Not super concerned on the low income housing, the neighborhood is pretty low income as it is. The unstoppable march of town houses is spilling over EaDo and into Greater Eastwood. The soup kitchen/s will have to relocate once the freeway is expanded. Speaking of, the camps are slowly moving south on 45. There's one on Emancipation under 45 that uses political signs as a fort wall and had a Christmas tree up. The City really needs to think about where these people are going to be pushed to once the tents under the current 59 freeway get displaced.

 

Where are they going to go? Greenspoint? Pushed down the freeways until they reach the burbs?

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12 hours ago, KinkaidAlum said:

Critical Mass rides all over the city and it doesn't take hours to wait for them to pass. I rather enjoyed seeing them ride down Sunset when I lived there. Much rather them than the folks driving 50 mph in a residential area.

 

After a few months, I got used to them meeting outside of my front door. It's not a simple ride by that lasts a few seconds for people who live around the park. It's hundreds of cars parked along the street where friends cannot come over during that time period because there is no street parking. It's having to plan once a month whether you want to come home early to avoid being blocked out of your house or-deciding  if you want to stay out a little late to make sure you are able to access your house. It's the noise at 11PM when at times you may have to be up at 6 AM the next day. They return to the park and often times turn it into a party where they blast music from their stereos until they are ready to go home.

 

 Critical Mass was never a thought in my head prior to them relocating, even being stuck behind them sometimes it was neat to see all of them having fun, but when they begin to meet outside of your house, it's a bit more than what others deal with regarding the ride.

 

It's a statement of fact they were kicked out of Downtown and that the Heights prevented them from meeting at the park off of Usener. Whether or not you love watching bikes take over the roads is up for discussion. Whether or not Critical Mass is a positive thing, is up for discussion.Everyone who doesn't live where they meet up, has no idea and I hope they don't move outside of your house if the East End ever rallies to get them out. 

 

 The fact is, they were unwanted in Downtown, they were refused in the Heights and they landed in the East End in August 2018 and have been there ever since.  There is a reason why they had to relocate, they are a nuisance for those who live in the vicinity of their meeting point. The city helped them move to the East End and in fact, recommended they did. It's a perfect analogy for other unwanted developments like the one mentioned in the article. 

Edited by I'm Not a Robot
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Homeless congregate where ever the services are and create skid row where drugs and other services are openly provided. Houston's NE area around Midway's East River has become a dumping ground for those that have cancelled the Affordable Housing project off of 610 West. Conspiracy me thinks it is more about maintaining voting districts than anything. 

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On 1/27/2020 at 11:12 AM, samagon said:

 

I stopped attending CM about 5 or 6 years ago. back when they met at Tranquility park. the idea of CM is a great one. build awareness.

 

I stopped going for 3 reasons:

 

1. idiots don't know how to ride in groups. I don't wear a helmet typically because I ride in areas I feel safe enough (bayou paths mainly, and low traffic roads), but I found after many close calls with other cyclists who were on one side of the road, seeing their friend on the other side, and just cutting across everyone to go say hi without looking first, I was wearing a helmet specifically for CM because I didn't feel safe due to the other riders in the group.

 

2. idiots being horrible to cars. there is a very small minority that take riding in huge numbers as a way to act aggressively towards vehicles. they ride in opposing lanes of traffic and do not allow any cars to move anywhere at all. others see this, and they assume it's ok, so they join in. I don't want to be a part of that.

 

3. where they ride. riding in areas that are already heavily cycled areas, what awareness are you creating? so CM rides go to areas that already have heavy cycle traffic, Montrose, east end, heights, downtown *twirls fingers* woohoo. you want to get your message out to the public? meet at Memorial park and go ride on Post Oak and Westheimer.

 

the idea of CM is great, in execution it could be done better.

Is there a way to voice where they should ride next? I ride frequently, but I’ve only done CM twice. I like that it’s great for new and veteran riders alike but it gets too crazy. I would like for the to focus on the West aide of Houston though. I feel cyclists in neighborhoods around downtown are slowly getting respect along with pedestrians. 

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So which one passed? All three? The two large ones? Can't wait to hear the shitstorm that will go up once people hear about low income housing going in a superfund site.

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Ojalla = mixed income, workforce housing (teachers, firemen, etc) 

NRP = replacement for Clayton homes, voucher program

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How much influence does Midway have on decisions such as this? I would imagine it's not in their interest for low income housing to be located next door to this project.

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1 hour ago, ahawk said:

How much influence does Midway have on decisions such as this? I would imagine it's not in their interest for low income housing to be located next door to this project.

I imagine it’s in midways’s best interest to have as many residents as close to the development as possible. These are mixed income projects with the majority at market rate.  This can’t hurt their marketing efforts, I would think.  You’re not going to get high end development backing up to train tracks and a newly rerouted 45/69, elevated highway. 

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34 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

These are mixed income projects with the majority at market rate.  


I don’t believe that’s accurate. The majority of units for each of these will be at 60% AMI or below—400 units at the NRP development and 304 units at the Ojala development.

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To be clear, the two proposed projects are distinctly different tenant profiles. South of the bayou is getting the shaft. 

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Isn't at least part of the Ojalla property in the intended path of I-49/1-69 rebuild?

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2 hours ago, thedistrict84 said:


I don’t believe that’s accurate. The majority of units for each of these will be at 60% AMI or below—400 units at the NRP development and 304 units at the Ojala development.

I am just referring to Ojala. I’m not entirely sure about the NRP proposal.

But, 304 “affordable” units, in a development of (I’ve heard) up to 1100units, is not too bad. In fact it good!  
Now, admittedly, I haven’t seen the many details on the project and don’t know what it’s current size, let alone design and format is. But, I’m not upset by what I’ve heard thus far, and I live in the neighborhood.  I would appreciate more details from the developer and from HHA. 

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14 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

I am just referring to Ojala. I’m not entirely sure about the NRP proposal.

But, 304 “affordable” units, in a development of (I’ve heard) up to 1100units, is not too bad. In fact it good!  
Now, admittedly, I haven’t seen the many details on the project and don’t know what it’s current size, let alone design and format is. But, I’m not upset by what I’ve heard thus far, and I live in the neighborhood.  I would appreciate more details from the developer and from HHA. 


I feel like that 1100 number is the unit count between both developments. I don’t see how the Ojala development alone could have that many units.

 

Unfortunately HHA hasn’t been very

forthcoming with details and the manner in which they approved the project was a bit shady. I wouldn’t expect much from them.

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If they do a mix of apartments and townhouses, 1100 units is totally doable on a lot of that size. 

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Posted (edited)

 

12 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

I am just referring to Ojala. I’m not entirely sure about the NRP proposal.

But, 304 “affordable” units, in a development of (I’ve heard) up to 1100units, is not too bad. In fact it good!  
Now, admittedly, I haven’t seen the many details on the project and don’t know what it’s current size, let alone design and format is. But, I’m not upset by what I’ve heard thus far, and I live in the neighborhood.  I would appreciate more details from the developer and from HHA. 

 

I love your optimism but as your neighbor in the area I fear that the city had decided to just dump everything that the Heights or other more affluent areas has fought off into a very small area. This HHA property purchase was done as far as I can tell without a proper public hearing and I'm going to guess the city doesn't care much about it. This seems to be the norm in this direct vicinity. Hopefully once more powerful developers make their way to actually having to lease out structures built, they can get into the ear of the city because the citizens clearly cannot. I imagine that there will be some public push back on the building of this but it will eventually get done. 

 

I get the desire to ensure that the area doesn't push out people who have lived there for generations. This is empty land being built up tax free while our tax rate rivals the nicest areas in Houston. This kind of land could have been used for parks or something to beautify the area  especially as we see an implementation of the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan (there is a micro park at the silos being built in a tiny tract near this plot) and actually given back to an area that has been the most vulnerable to the affects of industry.  

 

I genuinely appreciate your optimism but the only people who should be happy about this happening are the developers who are profiting due to contracts with the city to build tax free land and count it as a write off and the cry babies in the other neighborhoods who would protest for years if this came to their street. 

 

 

Edited by I'm Not a Robot
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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Clayton Homes is being demolished by TXDOT, and its residents are your neighbors too. 

 

Clayton homes is approximately 20% occupied because of Harvey. The others were given vouchers to move to other facilities due to damage done that was deemed not worth repairing. 

 

Theoretically Clayton Homes is a revolving door of people who just need a little bit of time to get back on their feet. They are my neighbors, but the people who will live in this new facility will not be the same people who are at Clayton Homes currently. I've lived in other areas in Houston and nowhere gets more of these type of developments than this area. Maybe Montrose, River Oaks or Uptown could use a few more voucher based facilities. 

 

 

 

Edited by I'm Not a Robot
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I totally agree with that, but this specific development is replacing something that's already nearby that's about to be demolished. 

 

It's also not like there's not plenty of market-rate construction going up in the area as well. The result could well end up being a strong mix of more expensive market-rate housing, workforce housing, and voucher-based affordable housing. That's something that absolutely should be emulated in the rest of the city.

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Agree that Clayton Homes residents are our neighbors.... However, when you can track crime back to your neighbors home consistently, you may not be so eager to see them get a new home closer to you.

23 hours ago, I'm Not a Robot said:

 

 

I love your optimism but as your neighbor in the area I fear that the city had decided to just dump everything that the Heights or other more affluent areas has fought off into a very small area. This HHA property purchase was done as far as I can tell without a proper public hearing and I'm going to guess the city doesn't care much about it. This seems to be the norm in this direct vicinity. Hopefully once more powerful developers make their way to actually having to lease out structures built, they can get into the ear of the city because the citizens clearly cannot. I imagine that there will be some public push back on the building of this but it will eventually get done. 

 

I get the desire to ensure that the area doesn't push out people who have lived there for generations. This is empty land being built up tax free while our tax rate rivals the nicest areas in Houston. This kind of land could have been used for parks or something to beautify the area  especially as we see an implementation of the Buffalo Bayou Master Plan (there is a micro park at the silos being built in a tiny tract near this plot) and actually given back to an area that has been the most vulnerable to the affects of industry.  

 

I genuinely appreciate your optimism but the only people who should be happy about this happening are the developers who are profiting due to contracts with the city to build tax free land and count it as a write off and the cry babies in the other neighborhoods who would protest for years if this came to their street. 

 

 

Unfortunately there was not a reasonable voice in the Buffalo Bayou East Sector Planning session and the constant feedback they got from 5th Ward residents north of I-10 was "We need affordable housing". So this is what you get when people with too much time on their hands get involved in local politics and people working 40-60 hours a week dont have the time to attend these 3pm meetings on a tuesday.

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23 hours ago, Texasota said:

I totally agree with that, but this specific development is replacing something that's already nearby that's about to be demolished. 

 

It's also not like there's not plenty of market-rate construction going up in the area as well. The result could well end up being a strong mix of more expensive market-rate housing, workforce housing, and voucher-based affordable housing. That's something that absolutely should be emulated in the rest of the city.

 

I wouldn't call it a strong mix. Basically you have expensive market rate property, and low-income / section 8 housing with almost nothing in between; I would venture to say that inter-mingling between the two groups is nearly non-existent in the neighborhood.

 

Maybe if they can manage to get workforce housing right it would bridge that gap and create a stronger mix, but with the proposed workforce focused housing being at least partly in the path of the proposed re-route I wouldn't be surprised if the developer just wanted to make a quick buck by propping up some cheaply built apartments under the disguise of workforce housing that TXDOT would be forced to pay more for to acquire and demolish shortly after. I know it's a bit cynical and conspiracy-theory sounding, but HHA hasn't exactly been forthcoming and engaging with the surrounding community in the lower Fifth Ward and the East End.

 

Personally I'd like to see more effort to bridge the gap by offering affordable options to own homes / condos to lower-mid income individuals rather than pretty much relocating an old school project like Clayton homes a couple of blocks down, to an even worse location connected to only low capacity neighborhood streets rather than a thoroughfare.

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There are a variety of ways to achieve affordable living availability - concentrating it all in one spot creates as many issues as it seeks to solve. Integrate the same number of affordable units a few at a time into multiple market-rate complexes and the concerns would evaporate. City elders are taking a lazy approach and the existing community and future residents will both suffer for it in the long term. 

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Posted (edited)

 

On 4/25/2020 at 9:44 PM, HOUTEX said:

There are a variety of ways to achieve affordable living availability - concentrating it all in one spot creates as many issues as it seeks to solve. Integrate the same number of affordable units a few at a time into multiple market-rate complexes and the concerns would evaporate. City elders are taking a lazy approach and the existing community and future residents will both suffer for it in the long term. 

 

The latest lawsuit had a setback in court yesterday. I agree with HOUTEX, these projects should be smaller in scope and more spread out throughout the city. The Heights had a similar project and they fought it and won. It upsets me the East End has become a dumping ground for affordable housing. If it is great for the community, why is River Oaks not full of these projects. Politicos take advantage because this neighborhood is full of working class, who sometimes lack the political engagement, and a middle class that is not able to attend meetings at 10am or 3pm during a weekday (as someelse pointed above).

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Judge-blocks-renewed-effort-to-halt-East-End-15238914.php

Edited by EastEndHeritage
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2 hours ago, burt said:

The FBI now appears to be poking around. 

 

https://dolcefino.com/2020/04/30/fbi-investigating-city-housing-deals/

 

What does this have to do with this particular development (East River) though.

 

I know there is a lot of open land out here and a lot of different potential projects that could get started including public housing that the city is looking to do, but can we possibly split that off into another topic?

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7 hours ago, EastEndHeritage said:

 

 

 dumping ground for affordable housing.

Affordable housing has to go somewhere, and part of the affordable part is low cost land.

You would prefer that the East End stay all shotgun shacks and 1930's apartment buildings? That's what y'all got in the 70's when they stopped the Harrisburg Freeway

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6 hours ago, burt said:

The FBI now appears to be poking around. 

 

https://dolcefino.com/2020/04/30/fbi-investigating-city-housing-deals/

 

It's generally a good idea to take everything Mr. Dolcefino says with a grain of salt. That's not to say he isn't "correct" at times, but he's been in some fairly serious trouble in libel cases where he was espousing some stuff about some public figures, and let me tell you, winning a libel case as a public figure is pretty damn hard.

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On 5/1/2020 at 4:23 PM, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

Affordable housing has to go somewhere, and part of the affordable part is low cost land.

You would prefer that the East End stay all shotgun shacks and 1930's apartment buildings? That's what y'all got in the 70's when they stopped the Harrisburg Freeway

This is a hollow argument. The presented "choices" aren't binary. 

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On 5/1/2020 at 3:52 PM, JBTX said:

 

It's generally a good idea to take everything Mr. Dolcefino says with a grain of salt. That's not to say he isn't "correct" at times, but he's been in some fairly serious trouble in libel cases where he was espousing some stuff about some public figures, and let me tell you, winning a libel case as a public figure is pretty damn hard.

 

Agreed !  Although I generally support the legitimate mainstream media reporters out there in the world (and they are doing an incredible job lately in the face of so many attacks by other entities), Mr. Dolcefino comes across as very arrogant and self aggrandizing more and more the older he gets.  I remember when he was pretty young in the early 90's and was a fairly decent facts only reporter.  Now?  Not so much...

 

But, I really hope this KBR site is able to progress soon and we get some nice decent, clean and attractive development on the far east end.  This will bring more and more people out there and make it more of "the place to live" in Houston, instead of always further and further away from the industrial areas.  Perhaps, this project could serve as further catalyst to cleaning up and greening up the areas to the east so as to negate some of the very ill effects from the refineries not too far away and in plain view of downtown. 

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So does anyone know how this will impact home prices? Currently shopping around and love the East River project of course, but now with the NRP project going in I'm wondering if I buy a house for say 350k on the North side of the bayou, which seems to be the average around there, is it immediately going to drop once the NRP opens up or is East River going to offset that?

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Hi pm91. 

I am speaking from a homeowner's perspective, in the neighborhood that your are talking about (East Bayou District).  At the core of this neighborhood is Kennedy Place, a 108unit/224bedroom, Houston Housing Authority, low income housing project.  This whole neighborhood, as you see it now, has grown up around this.  There are literally, hundreds of new homes surrounding this development on all sides.  Property values have sky-rocketed since the purchase my new townhome in 2013, and I attribute it to the potential of the East River property, as well as proximity to downtown and easy access to highways and all central city neighborhoods (Montrose, Heights, Midtown, EADO, etc...).

 

So, the NRP project you are speaking of, is across the Bayou, on the southern bank . Much of this is designed as a replacement for Clayton Homes, which is currently being demolished and will be fully eliminated. THE NRP (which was actually further from the East Bayou District) will have little effect or interaction on this neighborhood.  The closer proposed development is the OJALA mixed income development which 304units are proposed along with hundreds of market rate units. It's a large piece of property.  Details are sketchy (and that is a concern) but it is easy to see how this could become a development of more than 1000 new units, as what has been indicated.  In my opinion, what will effect the neighborhood more, is the additional residents that this development is likely to bring, which will bring more retail (to East River and elsewhere), which is desperately needed. 

 

As I see it, The enormous size of East River, the amenities and residents it will bring, the ongoing development of he the Bayou/BBP will far overshadow a few hundred additional low income residents. 

 

Reference:

http://www.housingforhouston.com/public-housing/housing-developments/kennedy-place.aspx

https://www.saveeastend.com/

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2 hours ago, Naviguessor said:

So, the NRP project you are speaking of, is across the Bayou, on the southern bank . Much of this is designed as a replacement for Clayton Homes, which is currently being demolished and will be fully eliminated. THE NRP (which was actually further from the East Bayou District) will have little effect or interaction on this neighborhood.  


I think the NRP development will have one major effect for people on the north side of the Bayou—a significant increase in vehicle traffic. With the way the streets are laid out in that area, the most likely access to and from the NRP property will be Kennedy St. to Jensen. From there, I think you will see a significant amount of traffic head up and down Jensen, which provides direct access to I-10, I-45, and 59 with less hassle then other alternatives. 

 

Does anyone have more details about the unit mix at NRP? I’ve seen varying details from different sources but nothing consistent.

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There are currently about 250 households in the immediate area. HHA is planning on placing 926 units (many of which are low income units) on the NRP site. This is about a 370% increase in the density of the neighborhood, with absolutely no intention or plan to upgrade the infrastructure. Furthermore, taking the Ojala and NRP properties off the tax roll will put further strain on existing residents already burdened with rising taxes. 

Capture.PNG

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1 hour ago, thedistrict84 said:


I think the NRP development will have one major effect for people on the north side of the Bayou—a significant increase in vehicle traffic.

I think you’re correct. Traffic is a result of any reasonably sized development. In comparison, to traffic that East River will produce, the NRP development will be nothing. Right now, traffic on Jensen SD Clinton is relatively light. When/if the traffic circle at Jensen/Navigation get built, will have a huge impact in the traffic, in a positive way. 
 

Burt, I certainly have concerns about concentrating low income housing in any specific area of the city, for example the east end. But, I have a serious question. Which would you rather:

1. Give private developers incentives through tax breaks to construct LIH. Or,

2. Pay for LIH directly with revenue that the city has collected in the forms of taxes?  Do you believe that the city can build reasonable quality low income housing more efficiently than a developer (with oversight)?  The housing has to get built one way or another. Unless there is another way to fund “public housing”.  

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The "oversight" is my main concern. HHA has been less than transparent and provided several misleading  statements in their application to HUD (for instance they state that Middle Street will provide direct access to the site directly from Navigation, this is not accurate and misleading). The environmental issues that exist at the NRP site are of the most concerning. The City is essentially forcing low income folks to live in an area that is environmentally questionable. My back of the napkin math for this project (land and construction cost) puts the cost of each unit at $260,000+. That is high even for Class A projects let alone on a site with environmental issues. 

 

I agree that giving private developers incentives in some cases makes sense. The problem is when the developer flips the property (many times at a large profit) and you are stuck with a developer/operator that does not live up to the agreements as they were set forth. This has happened in several cases with NRP, JLB, Ojala, etc...The developers and their brokers seem to be the only winners here.   

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2 minutes ago, burt said:

The "oversight" is my main concern. HHA has been less than transparent and provided several misleading  statements in their application to HUD (for instance they state that Middle Street will provide direct access to the site directly from Navigation, this is not accurate and misleading). The environmental issues that exist at the NRP site are of the most concerning. The City is essentially forcing low income folks to live in an area that is environmentally questionable. My back of the napkin math for this project (land and construction cost) puts the cost of each unit at $260,000+. That is high even for Class A projects let alone on a site with environmental issues. 

 

I agree that giving private developers incentives in some cases makes sense. The problem is when the developer flips the property (many times at a large profit) and you are stuck with a developer/operator that does not live up to the agreements as they were set forth. This has happened in several cases with NRP, JLB, Ojala, etc...The developers and their brokers seem to be the only winners here.   

 

What do you mean, "environmentally questionable"? Either the site is contaminated or it isn't. An ESA will determine that and is required before they can build. The videos make a big deal of "They're next to a lead facility!" but that in itself doesn't mean anything. If this area were questionable, there wouldn't be developers like Midway scrambling to build there. 

 

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HHA has yet to provide any ESAs and part of the issue is that they plan to purchase that land without making those disclosures. So if the land passed a Phase I, why not release it? If there is no remediation required, why not disclose that?  It gives the appearance that HHA is hiding something (which they have been known to do). Using tax dollars to purchase land  without doing proper due diligence such as environmental, traffic study, etc...is not being a good steward of tax payer funds. And given the history of the site and proximity to other industrial sites, I think it is safe to say that the environmental integrity of the lot is questionable until proven otherwise. 

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