April 12 TDHCA Housing Tax Credits meeting results

On April 12 the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the agency that manages the Housing Tax Credits application process and awards, held a hearing in Austin to gather comments from individuals and groups about projects that have applied for housing tax credits, including the apartments planned for Oak Creek Drive.

TDHCA Finance Director Marni Holloway opened the meeting by stating that the purpose was to gather public comments for the TDHCA board (none of the board members were present). All comments were recorded; attendees were asked to sign in and indicate if they were in favor of, opposed to or neutral on a specific project.

About 20 Northwood neighbors traveled to the hearing that was held at 1701 Congress at 6 PM. Three neighbors, including two of the officers, spoke against the apartments, describing the concerns and dangers of additional traffic, poor and unsafe location for apartment residents (close to the train, distant from grocery and other businesses), increased flooding risk and the issues with the geology of the land (karst – probable underground voids may make it too costly to build multistory buildings).

Place 6 Council Member Zimmerman was present and spoke. He shared some of his objections to the process: to award the housing tax credits the TDHCA has developed a scoring system. The builders can get points by meeting certain criteria but if a neighborhood opposes the project, there is no way to deduct points. And if the City Council endorses the project, that adds points but if the City Council objects, no points are removed.

Many thanks to all who made the trip to the hearing – here’s an after meeting photo of some of the neighbors who made the trip (others had already departed).neighbors after TDHCA hearingc

Contact TDHCA by June 12!

If you have not yet done so, please email Multifamily Finance Division Director Marni Holloway, marni.holloway@tdhca.state.tx.us and Competitive Housing Tax Credit Administrator Sharon Gamble,  sharon.gamble@tdhca.state.tx.us to express your opposition.

We are tracking the number of emails; please notify northwoodtreasurer@gmail.com – either cc that address  when you send the email to Ms. Holloway and Ms. Gamble or send a separate email.

When writing the mail, please include the following:

  1. Use the subject line “Opposition to Elysium Park, application number 16161.”
  2. Include your home address.
  3.  Let them know you are against the proposed housing development Elysium Park, application number 16161 at 3300 Oak Creek Dr in Austin, TX.  Let them know the site is not appropriate for apartments; include as much detail as you wish. Ask them to not grant the tax credits to this project.

Details you may want to mention include:  the location is unsuitable because of possible increases in flooding nearby and downstream, this part of Austin geology sits on limestone and karst which often has caves and underground voids; this geology would not be suitable for heavy multi story buildings. Additionally, there are only 2 usable streets to enter and exit this area; apartments would add more traffic to the nearly 860 homes that already use these two streets.

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