Proposed Apartments An Affordable Housing Solution

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There is a $3 million plan to address affordable housing needs in Payson.

Whether it becomes a reality hinges on a decision by the Payson Town Council to buy the Garcia property at the southeast corner Main and McLane. That decision is scheduled to be discussed in a special meeting of the council at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The Payson Regional Housing Development nonprofit corporation has a grant of state and federal money from the Arizona Department of Housing, formerly part of the Department of Commerce, to build a 40-unit complex in the Green Valley Redevelopment Area. The site it wants is about three acres of the Garcia property. The PRHD wants to buy it when the town purchases the remainder of the Garcia 12 acres.

The board of PRHD is being assisted in the project by the Cordes Development Inc. of California, according to PRHD president Rick Croy. He stressed, in an interview with the Roundup, the affordable housing project is not the Cordes project.

Called the Green Valley Apartments, the project will have 20, three-bedroom units and 20, two-bedroom units.

Rents will be based on income and the number of people in the renting family.

Croy said people must have regular employment to meet the income requirements. On average, the rents will range from $463 for three bedrooms and two baths, to $403 for two bedrooms and one bath. A utility allowance will also be factored into the rental equation, Croy said.

The PRHD was organized in early 2001, created by people who participated in the town's ad hoc committee on affordable housing.

The ad hoc group met for more than a year and heard several speakers on the topic of affordable housing. One of the speakers was David Cordes, who had helped develop affordable housing projects throughout the U.S., with at least half-a-dozen in Arizona.

With financial assistance from Payson Regional Economic Development, PRHD was formed. No town funds were used to start the group and none have been contributed since.

Once the PRHD was organized, Cordes was asked to speak about affordable housing again, and has since contributed several thousand dollars to move the Green Valley Apartment project forward, Croy said.

The group made an application for a grant for its project in 2001, but was unsuccessful. A grant application was resubmitted this year, and the funds were awarded.

The PRHD must own the property for the project by Nov. 22, or it loses the grant, Croy told the town council at its Oct. 8 special meeting.

"We need a commitment from the town like the commitment we have had from the volunteers (who have brought the project this far)," Croy said.

He said the project needs the McLane Road frontage in order to keep within the budget. Located elsewhere, there would be too much money needed for infrastructure, he said. "There are no options to get more money," Croy said.

He said if the grant is lost this year, the chances of successfully reapplying would be very difficult, if not impossible.

Finding another appropriate site for the project is also unlikely, Croy said. To qualify for the grant money, infrastructure, including access to a sewer system, is needed.

To have the project outside Payson, a wastewater treatment plant would have to be built, defeating the purpose of keeping the housing affordable.

The PRHD board includes Ralph Bossert, Fran Doering, Mark Montey and John Schulz in addition to Croy.

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