Proposed apartments take first step
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"This is not low income or public housing. This is moderate income. It is moderate rate housing is what it is. Will there be people in it who are receiving Section Eight? We anticipate there will."
By MATT MILNER
OTTUMWA — There is still a lot of work to be done, but Ottumwa may see 63 new apartments take shape beginning in 2018.
City Planner Kevin Flanagan said the project, tentatively called the Asbury Heights apartments, was proposed by Jim Danaher. The proposal is in its early stages, but cleared a significant hurdle Tuesday with the city council’s passage of a conditional rezoning for the site at 1321 Asbury Ave.
Danaher is a Fairfield businessman who made his money largely in the oil business. Flanagan stressed to the city council that the proposal as currently envisioned is primarily for moderateincome families.
"This is not low income or public housing. This is moderate income," he said. "It is moderate rate housing is what it is. Will there be people in it who are receiving Section Eight? We anticipate there will."
The potential for mixing low-income and moderate-income housing raised some eyebrows, but Flanagan noted that "technically, there’s the possibility for Section Eight housing all over the city."
The city’s involvement in the project takes much the same form as with the Washington Apartme! nts project, which received more than $800,000 in state incent! ives earlier this year. Flanagan anticipates Danaher seeking similar incentives during the December filing period. An announcement on that award would follow next spring.
A rebatement through Tax Increment Financing of approximately $500,000 forms the city’s assistance. Flanagan pointed to a similar mechanism as a significant part of the Washington Apartments’ bid for state assistance.
"The city’s portion of this would be performed similarly, with a TIF rebatement," Flanagan said. "That would be the city’s skin in the game."
The conditional zoning caps the number of apartments and lays out a five-year time frame for the work. The council passed the ordinance’s first reading on a 3-1 vote, with Councilman Marc Roe opposed. Councilman Bob Meyers was absent. Councilmen Victor Streeby, Skip Stevens and Matt Dalbey voted to approve it.
In other business:
- Council members approved the sale of a 2.45 acre site adjacent to Wenger Contracting Company for $10,000. City Attorney Joni Keith said the sale was for considerably less than the site’s $49,000 appraisal, "however the city has no other parties interested in this property at that price." No competing bids were received.
- Keith told the council Wenger plans to expand its offices and parking space, and that might not be the last sale in the vicinity. "There is another parcel adjacent to this that we have another party who is interested in it," she said.
- The Southeast Iowa Community Soccer League’s rental of soccer fields in Central Addition Park was approved for 2017-2018.
- The council approved hiring Michael Moreland as outside counsel for the legal action against Larry Clabaugh, who is embroiled in a dispute with the city over fence and gate construction, storage of vehicles on his property and a planned auction of hundreds of cars.
Keith said the city received a temporary injunction, but she cannot serve as the city’s attorn! ey during the trial since she is a! witness in the case.
Trial could take place in June or July.
Matt Milner can be reached at email@example.com and followed @mwmilner.