GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — An affordable housing project just suffered a setback in Georgetown.
Thursday, city council members voted against granting housing tax credits to the developer planning to bring in over 350 affordable housing units.
The KCG development would have been located near Sam Houston Avenue and Bell Gin Road. There isn’t much surrounding the area except for one Saddle Creek neighborhood.
In order to submit an application for housing tax credits, the developer is required by the State to obtain a resolution from Georgetown acknowledging that the city has more than two times the state average per capita amount of housing tax credit units.
According to city documents, in Texas, there is an average of 0.0097 tax credit units for each state resident. In Georgetown, there are 0.027 units per person, 2.82 times the average amount of statewide units of tax credit.
“You almost get the sense they don’t want lower income people living in this community,” said Lou Sneed, Georgetown Housing Committee Chair. “The below-market rate is $700 to $750 a month. That’s not tremendously lower than $1000 a month, but that extra $300 can really help the community out.”
Sneed is on the Georgetown housing board and supports the new KCG project. City staff have also previously agreed there’s a need for affordable housing and recommended the development.
The 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update adopted on March 10 includes policies in the Housing Element to ‘ensure access to diverse housing options and preserve existing neighborhoods for residents of all ages, backgrounds and income levels,’ according to city documents.
The two projects in the development would have brought in 206 affordable units for families and 144 units for seniors.
“These are people with jobs and incomes, which means they have jobs, they have cars, they have families. They can get places. I’m not understanding why public transportation is being brought up by community members, when these people are living in the same community as them,” said a KCG spokesperson during Thursday’s council meeting.
During that council meeting, over 30 Georgetown residents spoke up against the development. They argue the development will decrease property values in the Saddle Creek neighborhood and bring in more crime.
“The actual consumers of these rentals will not want what’s best for our community but instead want to live off the handouts,” said a Georgetown resident during council.
Other council members argue people would be coming in from different cities to live inside the development and commute to nearby areas for work, thus not addressing the workforce housing issue.