Sunday, February 10, 2019 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews
Featured image: A vacant lot on 17th Avenue in Broadview, which the village hopes is the future site of affordable housing for seniors and veterans. | Google Maps
During a Feb. 4 regular meeting, the village of Broadview Board of Trustees approved a special use permit and a preliminary land lease deal necessary to allow Ross Financial Services to build a 70-unit, three-story affordable housing development for seniors and veterans at 2111 S. 17th Ave. in Broadview.
Ross Financial has been contracted to build and manage the development, and it will team up with an area non-profit to provide programming. But in order for the project to proceed, it must first qualify for a combination of federal funds and state tax credits. Some of that prospective funding required the board to pass a resolution that would signal that the village is prepared to lease the land to Ross Financial.
While the Special Use permit application was approved unanimously, Trustee John Ealey voted against the land lease resolution. Even though the village attorney repeatedly emphasized that the resolution doesn’t actually create a lease — something that will be finalized should the project get the government funding — Ealey said he was concerned that the process was happening too quickly and without public input.
The Village of Broadview and Ross Financial intend to fund the project through some combination of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits. Both are administered on the local level by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
As Jim Weglarz, Ross Financial’s vice president of Development, explained to the village board during the Feb. 4 meeting, they are hoping to get $400,000, or 80 percent of the costs, from the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, with state credits covering the remaining 20 percent.
Each year, Wieglarz said, IHDA distributes about $22 mllion in federal credits.
“Typically speaking, they select between 15 and 20 projects a year [throughout the entire State of Illinois,” he said. “On average, they get about 60 applications a year.”
Each project is evaluated based on a scoring system that takes several factors into account, including the design’s environmental friendliness; community support; accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities; and proximity to amenities such as grocery stores, medical offices and public libraries.
“We believe this is a strong project,” Wieglarz said. “It should score well in this system.”
In order to qualify for the state credits, the developer has to team up with a local nonprofit to provide services for residents. Wieglarz said because the IHDA application deadline is Feb. 15, time was of the essence.
He went on to explain that IHDA will announce the results in the fourth quarter of 2019 and it would take about 13 months to actually build the development.
Any senior housing built in a Broadview C-1 commercial zoning district has to get a special use permit. The Broadview Zoning Board of Appeals held a hearing on Ross’ proposal on Dec. 11, 2018. After reviewing Ross’ application, it recommended that the board vote in favor of final approval.
The ordinance notes that the Special Use would be withdrawn if the building isn’t used as senior housing and it would automatically lapse if there isn’t any construction within the next 18 months.
Ealey said that he voted against approving the land lease resolution because any transfer of ownership of village-owned land has to be approved by an ordinance rather than a resolution, and it has to be approved by a super-majority vote, which wasn’t possible given that only four of the six trustees were in attendance.
Village attorney Mathew Ingersoll insisted that the resolution wasn’t actually an agreement to transfer any land; rather, it is “an agreement to make an agreement,” in the event the project gets the tax credits.
‘This agreement itself, it is calling it a donation, but the conveyance wouldn’t take place until later,” he said, explained that the wording was a legal formality to satisfy IHDA requirements.
“We need to demonstrate to IDHA, we need to demonstrate to the State of Illinois that [Ross] can [get] control of the site,” he said.
Ingersoll also said that the agreement would actually set up a 99-year lease, with the village still owning the land the building is under. The actual lease agreement would be negotiated later, once the credits are actually secured. As Ingersoll explained, he didn’t want to spend village funds on something that may not even be needed.
Mayor Katrina Thompson said that she spoke to mayors of neighboring municipalities like Maywood, Bellwood and Melrose Park, and that they handled similar projects the same way. VFP
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