Aldermen sign resolution supporting 40-unit apartment complex

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Denise Mathisen with Miller O'Reilly (standing) addresses the Board of Aldermen.

New Haven, Mo. - Monday night rental property owners along with fellow citizens attended the public hearing regarding the development of a 40-unit apartment complex that would utilize Low Income Housing Tax Credits from Missouri’s Housing and Development Commission.

The Board of Alderman unanimously voted to support the proposed 40-unit apartment complex which was proposed by Miller O’Reilly Company through a resolution of the Board of Aldermen during their regular monthly meeting, which was held immediately after the public hearing.

The resolution does not mean building will begin tomorrow.  It simply means that O’Reilly has the support from the Board of Aldermen, which allows O’Reilly to apply for the Housing Tax Credit through Missouri’s Housing and Development Commission.

The determining factor if there will be an appartment complex is whether or not O’Reilly receives the Housing Tax Credit.

Aldermen Allen Bell said, “I visited one of their complexes in Warrenton that is nine years old and it was in very good condition.”

Police Chief John Sheible said, “I have spoken with several area police departments and found no particular cause for concern.”

Alderman Bell also stressed that if this complex were to pass that management will be the key and “we need to make sure to emphasize this.”

Those opposed to the development question the accuracy of the market study as well as concerns of this project turning into another HUD.

The city was first approached about the apartment complex last year in Nov. and Mayor George Panhorst made it very clear to Denise Mathisen, Director of Operations & Development with Miller O’Reilly, about the city’s previous experience with HUD.

Mathisen reassured the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at the 2011 Nov. meeting by saying this project is not another HUD, “1,000% guaranteed”.

To help understand the difference between “HUD” (Section 8) and “Tax Credit” (Section 42) QNHN found that one difference is how monthly rent is paid.

With section 8 housing, the tenants do not pay the full amount of rent. Instead, the federal government pays 30% and the tenant only pays 70% of the already below market value cost.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit provides rent at a lower rate however; the tenant is responsible for 100% of the monthly rent.

Monday night, Mayor Panhorst asked, “What steps are taken to prevent drug users or past criminals from being able to rent?”

Mathisen said, “We do require a background check…obviously people sneak through under the radar or they move additional people in after the fact because we only allow two occupants for a one bedroom apartment for example.  So there are occupancy limits on each unit.”

Mathisen stressed, “We do not tolerate disturbing of the peace or uncleanliness.  We have our community regulations.  We require everybody follow them…we do give notices but if people can’t comply then we do give them a notice to evict.”

City Administrator Steve Roth said, “I have had some skepticism expressed that there’s more than a need for 40 units.”

Mathisen responded by saying, “We are comfortable with the same assumptions we made last year and a third party market study did confirm and verify that there was a strong enough demand for 40 units.  I do not have that final one redone yet for this year; again they have done their initial review on it and are not seeing any difference.”

Mike Cupp with Associate Realty Management said, “They’re showing any where from 10 to 11 percent vacancies already in the New Haven area that they are managing.  In the 2010 censes it showed the city’s percentage of rented units to be extreme for the area.”

“The city of New Haven is starting to go to a point where they’re getting more property that’s being rented than people living here.” (According to Cupp he obtained his data from an online site, “Fact Finder”.)

Cupp continued, “If you bring too much rental in without the housing to back it…there’s like 50 homes in this city right now for sale.  You [Mathisen] haven’t done your studies on the need very well 'cause I don’t think there’s a need at all.”

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