Colorado Finance and Housing Authority (CHFA) Presents to Council in Conjunction with Littleton Crossing Development

littleton-crossing-2

By Deanna Cook
(Council Study Session ID# 17-25. See More High Density for Downtown Littleton for the back story.)

In a nutshell: CHFA’s representative, Tasha Weaver, made CHFA look foolish.  She admitted they rarely hear from the public and that our opposition, while “unprecedented” and the likes of which CHFA has “never seen before”, was ignored by them in their decision-making. She stated she ‘bundled up’ the Petition and numerous letters and emails and gave them to the CHFA Voting Committee. According to CHFA’s own inside attorney, the Summit application documents provided to the Voting Committee for a final decision did not include our opposition. It did, however, include what CHFA called ‘support’ that CHFA itself sought out and by notifying South Metro Housing Authority which then, in return for hearing about the project, provide a letter of support to Summit.

Weaver confirmed CHFA’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) goals in 2016 were for four specific types of projects for extreme needs such as the homeless, special needs persons, low population areas and disaster area victims. Summit’s project did not fall into any of those categories.  She also confirmed when LIHTC properties are found to be non-compliant after construction and occupied, they have never sued any of those developers or investors. Further, after Summit sells as planned at year 15, there appears to be very little oversight or control for the next 40 years. In this case the original developer and investors will be gone. CHFA looks at ‘vacancy’ rates but no specific low income housing needs. They don’t even investigate what other low income housing already exists in a community. Downtown Littleton currently supports a very high percentage of low income housing.

The City Council advised CHFA its process was “flawed” and essentially chastised it for ignoring the public voice and dropping down a 55-year low income project without involving the City which is tasked with managing the dispersing of socioeconomic properties and zoning and also taking into account that properties like Littleton Crossing may even be exempt from paying sales and use or property taxes to the City.

During council discussion, it was brought up that this piece of property may have been illegally rezoned. The zoning change required an approximately 4 acre plot whereas it is only 43,000 squ ft. The City Council ended with a plan that they would delay as much as possible to review the potential improper zoning issue.

Legal counsel has been retained by various community members – including residents and business owners.

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