Petition opposes proposed PG housing
The opposition to proposed affordable-rent housing developments in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood of Texarkana, Texas, has organized a petition drive to try and stop them.
A group calling itself Residents Against Tax Credit Housing had gotten more than 900 signatures on its petition as of Friday afternoon, organizer Amy Warren said. The petition does not call for any specific action but states the group’s stance on the issue, she said.
“It just basically states that we as citizens and homeowners and residents of north of I-30 do not wish for these housing projects to be built,” Warren said.
At issue are a pair of apartment complexes proposed by developer MVAH Partners to be built using low-income housing tax credits as a main source of funding.
Low-income housing tax credits do not provide tax breaks to developers. In exchange for receiving tax credits, developers agree to offer rents reduced according to a formula based on an area’s median household income. Developers sell any tax credits they are awarded to investors to cover most of the cost of construction. MVAH’s proposal does not include any reduction
of its property taxes or any other locally assessed tax.
MVAH is seeking the City Council’s support in applying for the credits. A state agency awards such tax credits on a competitive basis, and local support would increase MVAH’s chances of receiving them.
At its meeting Monday, the council will conduct public hearings on the matter. After each, the council will vote on a resolution stating support for MVAH’s tax credit application.
MVAH may apply even without the council’s support but would not proceed with the apartments without being awarded the tax credits, executive Darren Smith has said.
Opposition is based on concerns about best use of the land and needed infrastructure improvements, not on a desire to keep any kind of person out of the neighborhood, Ward 6 Council Member Josh Davis has said.
Both apartment complexes would be in Ward 6. Onehundred-seven units would be built at Clear Creek Drive and Summerhill Road, and 96 would be built at Galleria Oaks Drive and Cowhorn Creek Road.
Statistics show that affordable-rent housing lowers the value of the homes in the surrounding areas, and vacancy rates show that there is not a large demand for it in the area, Warren said.
The group is also concerned that the complexes would not pay their fair share of taxes and that streets in their present state could not accommodate a higher volume of traffic. Parents who want access to the Pleasant Grove Independent School do not necessarily have to live in the district, Warren said.
Warren said she sees government incentives as necessary, but they are not appropriate in this case.
“It’s definitely a necessary thing that government help families that are in need. I do not necessarily think they need to be built on these two specific pieces of land because I do not think it’s the highest and best use for those pieces of land,” she said.
For more information about the petition, call Warren at 903-277-8822.