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Developer plans to resubmit affordable housing application


An affordable housing complex proposed for La Vernia by Bridgeland Development LLC will not take shape this year, following a special meeting Feb. 20 of the La Vernia City Council.

The sole item on the agenda “Discuss and consider action on approval of a resolution regarding the proposed Bridgeland Development LLC application” died for lack of a motion, according to City Secretary/Treasurer Angela Cantu after the meeting.

Several community and business members attended and aired concerns about the development, proposed for a 5-acre tract adjacent to Country Care Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation on F.M. 775, just outside the city limits. Bridgeland Development’s representative Robbye Meyer had outlined during the Feb. 13 city council meeting that, along with affordable housing, the complex would offer amenities such as a pool and laundry facilities, along with services to its residents, such as notary services, tax preparation assistance, and more; prospective residents would be subject to a full screening process. This proposal was not a “Section 8” development, Meyer had explained, which subsidizes rent for the residents. Investment assistance is sought at the development stage, to make the housing affordable once built.

According to Meyer, the developer’s application to the state for investment funds required a resolution of support from the city for the application to be successful.

No “citizens to be heard” item was listed; those attending, however, were asked to share comments with city council members Marie Gerlich, Randy Leonard, John Richter, Eloi Cormier, and Jennifer Moczygemba, along with Mayor Robert Gregory.

Cantu said Finch Funeral Chapels owner Troy Finch expressed concerns about traffic and the possible effects of the development on property values.

Similar issues were expressed by former Mayor Harold Schott and Nick Fryer. According to Cantu, Fryer said he supports development, but questioned if the proposal by Bridgeland was right for the city.

Stephanie Afflerbach said she wanted to know more about the project to form an informed opinion, while another resident expressed concerns about the impact on the school district’s population.

Bridgeland required the resolution of support to include in its Feb. 28 application to the state.

Gary Hammond, co-founder of and principal in Bridgeland Development, responded to the matter’s failure before the council.

“We will not be able to submit [our application to the state] this year,” Hammond said. “We plan to resubmit next year and will hold onto the property.

“It’s an exceptional community with a great demand for the type of housing and ranges of rent we propose,” he continued. “We just didn’t have time to convince everyone what a great development this will be.”

Hammond said his company will continue to work with the city in an effort to provide information, answer questions, and gain support for the proposed development.

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