NIMBYism in Real Time

“Studies show it [NIMBYism] has contributed to projects being clustered in less affluent areas with high concentrations of minorities, such as East Austin, while relatively wealthy and well-organized neighborhoods see few if any such projects.” –Austin American Statesman, 10/16/10

Just a few days after the Austin American Statesman discussion of the general impact of NIMBYism on placement of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Properties, the effect can be witnessed in real-time.

The Katy Times ran an article yesterday on a proposed Low Income Housing Tax Credit development in Katy.  The developer is holding meetings to discuss the development with the potential neighbors prior to applying for the credits.

The local reaction?

“Obviously, we’re going to fight this,” said Don Mach, president of the Nottingham Country Homeowners Association. “We are putting together a bunch of facts because there has to be real reasons to oppose this development.”  [Emphasis added as editorial commentary.]

This census tract in Katy has a 2% poverty rate and Median Family Income 145% of Harris County, and would qualify as a “high opportunity area” under TDHCA’s current tax credit scoring rules. The Elementary school serving this area is rated “exemplary” by the Texas Education Agency, the High School “recognized.” The vacancy rate of the stock of existing affordable housing tracked by TDHCA in Katy is 4%, half the general rental housing vacancy rate of Harris county.

In a letter to its members, titled (complete with an alarming red font) “Community Alert: Low Income Housing,” another Katy group, the Nottingham Country Community Improvement Association Board (NCCIAB), states “as neighboring residents I think we can all agree that the impact of such a project will create traffic problems, drainage concerns, and add to student population at both Taylor High School and NCE which are both within walking distance of the property.  It could also have a detrimental effect on the home values throughout our area.”

It appears the NCCIAB has already put together their laundry list of reasons to oppose this development.

As this application goes forward, we encourage TDHCA to meaningfully evaluate this laundry list under the requirements of its rules, which state “Input […] the scoring of which the Department determines to be contrary to the Department’s efforts to affirmatively further fair housing will not be considered.”

UPDATE 10/29: The Katy times reports that the application for this development has been withdrawn.

updated 10-21 @930 am with TEA ratings.

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