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Martinez residents plan to protest proposed low-income housing

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Residents upset about a low-income development under way in Martinez are planning to voice their concerns Tuesday at a Columbia County Commission meeting.

Planned within the Magnolia Trace subdivision, off Old Ferry Road, are 50 single-family rental homes subsidized through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Commissioners were not asked to rezone the property because it has been zoned R-3 since 1979, County Administrator Scott Johnson said. R-3 zoning is specified for high-density, single-family residential development with minimum lot sizes of 7,500 square feet, according to the county’s guidelines.

The neighborhood will consist of three- and four-bedroom homes that are between 1,350 and 1,600 square feet, said Commissioner Trey Allen, according to information he received from the developer, Affordable Equity Partners Inc. The development cost $9.6 million, with 2 percent of the funding coming from housing tax credits, Allen said.

Phone messages left Tuesday and Wednesday for Brian Kimes of Affordable Equity Partners were not immediately returned.

Jennifer McCray, whose home on Butterfield Court is near the site, said she found out about the development two days before Thanksgiving after a neighbor passed along a flier from the developer. A site plan was displayed on the flier, as were the words “low-income housing,” “tax credit” and “rental,” she said.

“This affects the entire school system that ... area is zoned for,” McCray said. “The crime rates affect the entire community. This has much more far-reaching effects than just my neighborhood.”

McCray and others have made plans to speak at Tuesday’s commission meeting, which is at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center, 630 Ronald Reagan Drive.

“I look forward to the meeting,” Allen said. “I look forward to addressing people, and I look forward to trying to clear up any misinformation.”

The development is designed to create affordable housing for working professionals, he said.

Because the development is subsidized, renters can’t make more than $40,000. Those who qualify would pay $455 to $580 each month in rent, Johnson said. Tenants must maintain a consistent employment history and credit report and must undergo a criminal background check, Allen said.

Allen, whose office has received about 50 calls regarding Magnolia Trace, said he’s been accused of taking bribes and has also received threats from angry homeowners.

Many living in subdivisions surrounding the 15-acre property received a flier letting them know that a Section 8 housing development was being built near them and to call Allen, who represents that area, to stop the project.

County officials vehemently deny that claim. While renters using home choice vouchers, known to many as Section 8 housing, cannot be legally denied from living in Magnolia Trace, Allen pointed out that there are about 200 vouchers already being used in the county.

“If they have 50 applicants without vouchers that meet the recruitments, all 50 homes may be rented, and not one of them will have a voucher,” he said.

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dichotomy
36254
Points
dichotomy 11/30/11 - 10:51 pm
0
0
Section 8 or not, the

Section 8 or not, the surrounding property values are going down and the crime rate will be going up. Low income housing is never good news for existing stable neighborhoods. Just goes to show you that no matter where you live, your commissioners and zoning folks can and will ruin you at the drop of a hat.......or dollar.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 12/01/11 - 04:44 am
0
0
Pass a law that requires one

Pass a law that requires one acre of land for each family home of any type and problem would be solved. In fact it would fix a lot of porblems that strain the county.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 06:17 am
0
0
West Lake....they are coming

West Lake....they are coming soon to a lot near you...

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 12/01/11 - 06:41 am
0
0
Everybody should get a

Everybody should get a government issue home in the area of their choosing! It is our gos-given right. Take the money from the rich for such a project,they are evil and do not deserve to keep what they have earned. Down with the evil rich! Occupy the rich areas! If we work together,we can bring the rich to their knees.

blues550
380
Points
blues550 12/01/11 - 06:49 am
0
0
Martin needs to get her facts
Unpublished

Martin needs to get her facts straight. This is in Ron Thigpen's district. Allen's only true concern is Spring Lakes. He is on the state board approving this, but conveniently did not tell this to Austin Rhodes or WRDW. This is far more than a neighbors being upset. Richmond County turned the project down and our Sheriff is non too happy. Rental prices are higher in Harrisburg than they will be in Magnolia Disgrace, or Allen's Folly.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 06:53 am
0
0
Didn't we just read they were

Didn't we just read they were tearing down the projects in Richmond county......they have to go somewhere......let's just spread them to all the counties in the CSRA.....that is the plan.....why not just buy all the vacant houses in Jones Creek & put them there----another giverment program that is doomed .....when will giverment learn you CAN NOT give a person a better life----they have TO EARN IT....

CABoatright
188
Points
CABoatright 12/01/11 - 07:12 am
0
0
seenitB4--LOL--"giverment" Yo
Unpublished

seenitB4--LOL--"giverment"
You are so right!

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 07:19 am
0
0
mrducks.....The studies have

mrducks.....The studies have proven that crime follows section 8 housing----if I can find the link I'll post it again....but since you want to endorse this...why not make your area available???

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 07:29 am
0
0
About five years ago,

About five years ago, Janikowski embarked on a more ambitious project. He’d built up enough trust with the police to get them to send him daily crime and arrest reports, including addresses and types of crime. He began mapping all violent and property crimes, block by block, across the city. “These cops on the streets were saying that crime patterns are changing,” he said, so he wanted to look into it.

When his map was complete, a clear if strangely shaped pattern emerged: Wait a minute, he recalled thinking. I see this bunny rabbit coming up. People are going to accuse me of being on shrooms! The inner city, where crime used to be concentrated, was now clean. But everywhere else looked much worse: arrests had skyrocketed along two corridors north and west of the central city (the bunny rabbit’s ears) and along one in the southeast (the tail). Hot spots had proliferated since the mid-1990s, and little islands of crime had sprung up where none had existed before, dotting the map all around the city.

Janikowski might not have managed to pinpoint the cause of this pattern if he hadn’t been married to Phyllis Betts, a housing expert at the University of Memphis. Betts and Janikowski have two dogs, three cats, and no kids; they both tend to bring their work home with them. Betts had been evaluating the impact of one of the city government’s most ambitious initiatives: the demolition of the city’s public-housing projects, as part of a nationwide experiment to free the poor from the destructive effects of concentrated poverty. Memphis demolished its first project in 1997. The city gave former residents federal “Section8” rent-subsidy vouchers and encouraged them to move out to new neighborhoods. Two more waves of demolition followed over the next nine years, dispersing tens of thousands of poor people into the wider metro community.

If police departments are usually stingy with their information, housing departments are even more so. Getting addresses of Section 8 holders is difficult, because the departments want to protect the residents’ privacy. Betts, however, helps the city track where the former residents of public housing have moved. Over time, she and Janikowski realized that they were doing their fieldwork in the same neighborhoods.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 07:30 am
0
0
Just google Janikowski crime

Just google Janikowski crime & section 8 housing..

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 08:05 am
0
0
Yesterday on the Austin

Yesterday on the Austin Rhodes Radio Program, he read an e-mail he got from county administrator Scott Johnson. Johnson said he was attaching some documents describing (1) what the approval resolution was that the commissioners passed, and (2) what the commissioners had before them at the time they approved the resolution. Rhodes then read portions of the second document, and there was no doubt that the developer divulged that the development was intended for renters that would be eligible for subsidies.

Then a few minutes later Trey Allen called the program and maintained that the document Johnson e-mailed to Rhodes (and other media outlets) did not reflect what the commissioners had before them at the time, but instead was a document that had been received only since the controversy arose.

Which is it?

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 08:14 am
0
0
SeenIt, good info. This is a

SeenIt, good info. This is a complex situation and I think I know what's going on. The feds will sue counties that attempt to keep poor people out. There are numerous cases. What they typically do is go after zoning and other county policies that prohibit apartments.

Columbia County has a moratorium on new apartments. There are only 7 areas approved for future apartment construction if I recall correctly. It's impossible to get other apartments approved.

When a state agency comes around with something like this, it becomes very tricky to discourage such a project because of potential federal involvement. I'm sure this guy, Janikowski, knew how to play those cards extremely well.

One last point, realistically, if there are only 50 units it won't have much effect.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
River...this is how I

River...this is how I feel...

Something is bugging me this am....

On another thread there is a debate about section 8 housing.....would someone tell me this.....
If you are living in a trailer home (maybe worth $35,000)paying your taxes --working every week---trying your best just to stay afloat & feed your family....why should your tax $$$ go to fund section 8 housing for others???? Nicer homes than you have---nicer neighjborhoods than you live in----better schools than for your kids because they would be near West Lake homes----but the giverment will help with rent so that the average rent would be about $400. a month...
I'm all for helping some BUT MANY struggle & don't ask/or get help...give me a BREAK-----the GOV. needs to let people EARN a better life. JMO

blues550
380
Points
blues550 12/01/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
You are absolutely wrong
Unpublished

You are absolutely wrong Riverman, that development will have a negative effect on the home vales in El Cordero and Petersburg Station; and it most definitely is not in context with the rest of a great neighborhood.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 08:12 am
0
0
All I can say, seenit, is

All I can say, seenit, is that life ain't fair.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 08:18 am
0
0
SeenIt, I totally agree with

SeenIt, I totally agree with those sentiments. Our government has created a generation of fatherless kids who only know how to manipulate for handouts instead of having any kind of work ethic. This generation has no pride of having a job and is, in fact, dangerous to the rest of society. Policies such as low cost housing promote the wrong goals and destroy ambition.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 08:18 am
0
0
The Martinez residents who

The Martinez residents who plan to protest the low-income housing project remind me of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Wall Street was a done deal before the protests began; and this project is a done deal before next Tuesday's meeting.

One of the things that Rhodes maintains is that the commissioners should have gone to the trouble to knock on the doors of the homes near the vacant land before the commissioners voted on the resolution. He says the people should have been informed so they could have had input prior to the vote.. That is an interesting notion, but certainly the commissioners were under no legal obligation to do that. It would set a bad precedent, for other neighborhoods would expect the same treatment.

Where would you draw the line? Developers come up with cock-a-mamie projects all the time.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 08:25 am
0
0
OK...I know this won't happen

OK...I know this won't happen river.....BUT let us just say the section 8 was going in right in back of your house-------Your home value would decrease----some of your great neighbors would leave for greener pastures---(many with kids)crime more than likely would kick in----how do you "give" another person all that you have earned..worked for ..for 45 years or more??

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 08:29 am
0
0
One last point,

One last point, realistically, if there are only 50 units it won't have much effect.

That is what they said about 1 little hole in the dam...

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 08:30 am
0
0
With subjects like this,

With subjects like this, Rhodes is as provential as a Columbia County Water Dept worker responsible for few miles of pipe. He makes AB look like Henry Kissinger at times.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 08:33 am
0
0
SeenIt, not too far away from

SeenIt, not too far away from me by River Island there is a piece of land that is one of the seven places approved for apartments already. Also, even closer they just did a zoning change to allow houses built on smaller lots for a 60 acre neighborhood. We complained to no avail, but we didn't go OWS.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 12/01/11 - 09:11 am
0
0
Riverman1@ 8:30 AM, You're

Riverman1@ 8:30 AM,

You're too funny. Love your analogies.

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 12/01/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
I know from first hand

I know from first hand experience what happens when low income moves in nearby....a rental in Roswell just lost the value it had 3 years ago...more breakins & more teen trouble...:(

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 09:29 am
0
0
I'm sure the county

I'm sure the county commissioners had the tax assessor do a cost/benefit calculation taking into account the loss of tax revenue due to nearby property reductions versus the gain of tax revenue from the development plus the "economic impact" of 50 new families moving to Columbia County. The project must have showed a net benefit or they would not have voted for the resolution.

Damon Cline
11
Points
Damon Cline 12/01/11 - 09:30 am
0
0
Can someone tell me the

Can someone tell me the upside to approving government-subsidized housing in Columbia County, which for the past four decades has built a reputation as a destination for people who can afford to pay market-based mortgages and rent? Will it increase the tax base? Minimally. Will it improve the local school system by increasing the number of families who are actively engaged in their children's education? Probably not. Will it disproportionally increase demand on local police and fire services? A statistical likelihood.

This development is out of character with the surrounding neighborhood and is just another example of a Columbia County public policy decision that pulls the county away from the standard of living it has prided itself on for years.

The homeowners (yes, homeOWNERS) who surround the welfare housing unit are not as politically connected as those who live in West Lake and Jones Creek. But the gated subdivision crowd needs to understand that the children who live in developments such as these (and there are a couple of others in the form of subsidized apartments) will be crowding the same schools that their children attend.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/01/11 - 09:32 am
0
0
I say move all the low income

I say move all the low income housing to Columbia County. :)

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 09:47 am
0
0
Patty, poor as I am, I'd move

Patty, poor as I am, I'd move next to you and pay the rent myself.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 09:48 am
0
0
Hey, this Affordable Equity

Hey, this Affordable Equity Partners company may be a hot new investment. Go look at their web site. Here is how they get their capital (pasted in from their web site):

How do low-income housing tax credits work?

—A developer of an affordable property will admit AEP as its limited partner and allocate the tax credits to AEP in return for AEP’s capital contribution to the development, which is used to construct high quality finishes and “buy down” the rents to make them affordable.

—AEP groups multiple properties into a fund and the tax credits are allocated to investors who own a de minimis interest in a qualified affordable property.

—The investor may choose to make an up-front investment (cash) in the fund, or finance the investment over 10 years. Each year, the investor receives a K-1, including a schedule detailing the tax credits available to the investor from each property in the fund. The investor makes an accounting entry each year to reflect the reduction in the taxes payable and the carrying value of the investment. The investor will ultimately liquidate its investment through the use of the credits.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I never would have thought one could invest in tax credits, but here it is! Maybe I need to jump on the bandwagon. But when they talk about "grouping" multiple properties into a fund, it begins to sound a little like those bundled mortgage securities that turned into toxic assets. I'm sure tax credits are much safer than mortgages.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 09:53 am
0
0
Yeah, dcline, but low-income

Yeah, dcline, but low-income people need a good school system to flee to.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 12/01/11 - 09:53 am
0
0
LL, great info. I wonder if

LL, great info. I wonder if any of our county officials are investors? Wouldn't that be something?

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