Vote Monday on affordable housing complex
STERLING, Sep 29, 2012 (Menafn - Daily Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --At least two Sterling City Council members support a development proposed for the city's west end and one other sees a need for the type of housing the project would provide.
Yost Management Co. wants to build 24 one-, two- and three-bedroom duplexes on 7 acres on West 11th Street, between Avenue L and Woodburn Avenue. The 9.3 million complex, called Country Lane Apartments, also will have a community building with office space and laundry facilities.
The company plans to begin construction in late October or early November. Construction could be completed in as few as 8 to 10 months.
Yost Management already operates the Heritage Woods assisted living facility in Sterling.
The city's Plan Commission agreed Sept. 20 to rezone the land from R1 to R3 to accommodate the complex. The council is scheduled to vote during its meeting Monday.
Council members Amy Viering and Joe Martin told Sauk Valley Media they would vote in favor of the complex.
Alderwoman Retha Elston said she sees a need for the affordable housing Country Lane would provide.
Aldermen Lou Sotelo and Barry Cox did not return phone calls this week. A number for Alderwoman Linda Marley listed on the city's website was disconnected.
Eligible rents must make only 30 to 60 percent of the median household income for Whiteside County, which was 55,701, according to the 2010 census. That means a renter's annual income must be about 17,000 to 33,000.
Elston said she sees a need for affordable housing in Sterling.
"The Yost family seems sincere that they want to be a good neighbor and help the community out," she said. "They seem very thorough. From Heritage Woods, they seem to be a good neigbor there."
Martin said he has no issues with the proposed complex.
"I think it's a good addition to the community," he said. "As of now, I'm going to vote for it. I think Mr. Yost has dotted his I's and crossed his T's. He's been great to work with and has met all demands as far [as] they've put in."
Viering, too, thinks the affordable housing will be good for a city that has a housing stock that "is rather old."
One Plan Commission member, however, is strongly opposed to the development.
Bob Conklin voted for the rezoning, but said then he was opposed to "low-income housing."
"I'm so against this," he said in an interview with SVM. "Affordable living ... it doesn't matter what you call it. It's still low-income, uneqivocally. We've had enough of that. I know it's good to have some, it does benefit people that are hard working and need it.
"You know what it brings."
Selecting the location
Jeremy Yost, vice president of Yost Management, said the location for the proposed development "seemed like a perfect fit."
He wouldn't say what other areas were considered, but said the neighborhood near Scheid Park is a "very friendly neighborhood."
"The west side has been a very beautiful area of Sterling," he said.
Yost said the company wanted to take advantage of a neighborhood having, in a 1.5-mile radius, a full-service grocery, fixed route public transportation, parks, and a nearby health clinic.
A market study showed the need for affordable housing, with other low-income developments having long waiting lists, Yost said.
"We appreciate hearing" neighbors' concerns, Yost said, vowing the company intends "to be good neighbors."
City Manager Scott Shumard said new housing is necessary for a city to succeed, noting that one of Sterling's biggest problems is its decaying housing.
"This is a natural part of creating new housing stock that fits different strata of income levels of the community," he said. "I don't see this particular development as having negative consequences."
Shumard said the development's impact on traffic would be minor. He said it is not unusual for a city to have development instead of a farm field in the middle of a city.
"I think there's a need for turnover of housing stock," Shumard said. "We have our share of properties that haven't been kept up, built far below code.
"To now have properties that are built to modern code, ... to have those available to people is a benefit, to me."
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