We haven’t checked in on commission email recently and there’s no time like the present.
I started July by randomly selecting Ruthie Davis Schlabach’s emails from last week. It was the usual assortment of email with a theme that is becoming all too familiar: Take care of my problem or look out at the next election. Fix my road or else; stop rowdy boaters or else; give the sheriff all he wants or else. You get the picture.
But one set of emails dove into something fairly specific: Meadowcrest residents who don’t want an affordable housing apartment complex in their community.
The planning and development commission has already said no and the county commission will hear the zoning case on July 26.
The developer, Green Mills, is the same one that built the Forest Ridge Senior Residence apartments in Beverly Hills and the Colonnade Park Apartments in Inverness, both of which seem nice from the outside and have a waiting list a mile long to get in.
The developer is promising an equally pleasing complex in Meadowcrest that will provide affordable living for those who are lucky enough to sign up.
Meadowcrest residents, though, see something much different. An email sampling to commissioners:
Then there’s this:
This seems like a slam dunk no on the commission’s part, right? The opposition is a community of taxpayers who don’t want the property to change from commercial to apartments for all the reasons they listed.
There are two separate issues here: This specific development plan and affordable housing in general.
Some want to mix them together, as if it’s Meadowcrest’s responsibility to just ignore their concerns for the greater good of the affordable housing community. That not only is ridiculous, it’s extremely poor planning to shoehorn any type of development where it doesn’t fit.
Whether this complex is compatible in Meadowcrest is wholly separate from our community need for affordable housing. At least, it should be.
(That said, Schlabach seemed to telegraph her view on the same subject a few weeks ago in response to an email from someone who supported the Meadowcrest apartments.
She wrote: “I too am for this development. It is sorely needed in CC! I wish they had presented it as attainable housing or workforce housing. People don’t understand affordable housing. It scares them…”)
Regardless of the July 26 vote, the county is still left with an affordable housing challenge. The candidates haven’t said much about it, so clearly we’re all searching for answers.
It’s easy saying no to the developer of government subsidized housing in the face of opposition from local taxpayers.
While that may make folks happy, we’re still left with the same issue: Finding affordable places for working families to live.
Saying no to every affordable-housing zoning case that comes down the pike may be popular, but it’s not leadership. Come November, we need five leaders to give this issue a home.
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