Low income housing in Sachse TX may threaten home prices and stress ISDs funding

The developer VDC Sachse Reserve I, LLC recently sent out notices to the City of Sachse and the Wylie Independent School District states that VDC is making application for the Housing Tax Credit Program (HTCP) and HOME Program with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) for Woodbridge Estates: an apartment community comprised of approximately 100 units, of which 100% will be for low-income tenants. Word has got out about this notice, as it was forwarded on by the WISD to all the PTA presidents and principals in WISD, and then on to many residents of the Woodbridge HOA

The initial zoning for the property in question was approved in January 2002 for commercial and some apartment units, which more recently has been considered for a Wal-Mart and now low income housing. In both cases residents of the Woodbridge HOA have voiced concerns that it could have a negative impact on property values. The expected 200 kids to live in the low income housing could overload the WISD with additional expenses and no additional funding due to a lack of property taxes. There are also concerns about discouraging new businesses from coming to the area.

On the proponent side, these 200 kids would be given an opportunity to attend a highly rated school district. Giving their families a place to live that otherwise could not afford it, in a community with may good opportunities and amenities. Sachse City certainly has a number of neighborhoods already that are somewhat rundown with low cost housing, although well displaced from the Woodbridge area, this new development would be right next door. Still it begs the question as to if property values would really be hurt that drastically or at all.

The land owner, and HOA developer Don Herzog sent out a note, after last week’s Woodbridge Association meeting stating, “I was asked to report on this morning’s meetings with the multifamily developer, the City of Sachse and the Wylie Independent School District. I shared the concerns raised at last night’s Board meeting with all. As a result of these meetings, the multifamily developer is evaluating whether or not to proceed with his application. I should know more sometime early next week.”
On the morning of January 27, 2012, a VDC representative and a representative of the landowner met with the city to discuss the Development. At that meeting, it was communicated to the city that the development is proposed for a site already zoned for multifamily residential near State Highway 78 and Woodbridge Parkway. Other details for the Development had not been determined specifically, but are still being evaluated by VDC.

On Friday the Sachse City Manager made an e-mailed statement that was posted on the on-line community groups, saying, “The program being applied for is administered at the state level through the TDHCA and not the city. At the city level, no applications have been made by VDC for any action or consideration. . . Comments and input addressed to the city regarding the notice and proposed Development are appreciated. However, unless an application is made to vary from the existing zoning or subdivision regulations, local City Council action is not required.

All TDHCA applications are scored on a wide variety of factors. There is a section within the 2012-2013 Qualified Allocation Plan and Related Laws and Rules called Quantifiable Community Participation. Points can awarded and/or subtracted for letters of support, neutrality or opposition by the following:

  • Neighborhood Organizations within the boundary of the proposed development (Woodbridge HOA).
    – Contact the Herzog Development Cooperation to express your opinions and concerns.
  • State Representative or Senator
    – Contact your State Senator and Representative ask them to approve or disapprove of the development. The alone can help the developer get the 16 points needed to move forward with the application.
  • There may be an opportunity for the following to support or oppose the development:
    – Superintendent of the school District (WISD)
    – Presiding officer of the board of trustees of the school district (WISD)
    – Mayor of any municipality containing the development (Sachse City)
    – All elected members of the governing body of the county

Some residents of Woodbridge have suggested forming a group to create a flier to take around to neighbors who may not have yet heard about the purposed housing.

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