Letter details planned development

SALEM – The NRP Group outlined details about the planned Salem Pointe apartment development in a recent letter sent to Mayor John Berlin, with the number of units to be built reduced from 120 down to 90, all for renters with low to moderate incomes.

When NRP Group Developer Mary Hada first appeared at a Salem Planning Commission meeting in November, she explained that the development planned for the corner of East Pershing Street and Butcher Road would include 120 two-story walkups, with 10 of the units charged the market rate for rent with no income limit for the renter. The remaining 110 units would be tax credit units, meaning they had to limit the rents based on a percentage of the area median income.

The Cleveland-based housing developer is applying for low income housing tax credits through the Ohio

Housing Finance Agency Housing Credit Program to help finance the project, requiring rent and income restrictions for a number of years. Hada previously said rents could start at $603 for a one-bedroom and go up to $836 for a three-bedroom, dependent on income levels.

According to the letter dated Feb. 19, the development will contain up to 90 units, with 10 percent of the units targeted at or below 30 percent of the area median gross income, with the income of the tenants ranging from $11,130 to $17,190 per year.

The income and rent targeting outline said 50 percent of the units will be at or below 50 percent of the area median gross income, with incomes of the tenants ranging from $18,550 to $28,650. Approximately 40 percent of the units will be at or below 60 percent of the area median gross income, with incomes of the tenants ranging from $22,260 to $34,380.

A chart showing the proposed rents further broke down the numbers by allotting a certain number of units for one, two or three-bedroom units and certain income levels. Net rents ranged from $220 for the lowest income renters for a one bedroom to $699 for the highest income renters for a three bedroom. The chart also listed median market rents ranging from $527 for a one-bedroom, $574 for a two-bedroom and $628 for a three-bedroom.

Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey said the information in the letter wasn’t a surprise to her.

“This is what I expected the program to be. I tried to make that known,” she said. “I think the public should know that this is what it is.”

Berlin said he sent copies of the letter to all the city officials, including the council members, because he wanted them to have the information. He said he was surprised that the number of units went from 120 down to 90 and that the market rate units were eliminated.

He spoke to Hada to see if the city needed to send a statement of approval regarding the project as described, but she said it wasn’t necessary. The letter explained the right to submit comments and outlined how a statement of disapproval or objection, if that was the case, would require a written statement signed by the majority of voting members of the legislative body governing the jurisdiction.

Councilmen Dave Nestic, K. Bret Apple and Rick Drummond all said they wanted to get some clarification on a few points in the letter. Nestic and Drummond both said they thought there were going to be some market rate units and wanted to ask about that.

Nestic said he supports the project and described it as higher quality low income housing, but added he would like to see some graduated housing developed, too. Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said she was disappointed to see the apartments cut were the upper tier. She didn’t know if this was because of something they learned about the local demographic or not.

Councilman Brian Whitehill said the information was fairly consistent with what he read about the Ohio Housing Finance Agency program.

“The state’s not going to give them $14 million in tax credits for full price apartments,” he said.

For landlords in the city, he said if they don’t want to lose tenants to this new project, they should look at their own properties and start making improvements.

Whitehill lives on Tanglewood Drive, one of the dead-end streets that abut the property NRP is planning to purchase. He said people need to keep in mind that most of the area the company is planning to buy is already zoned for multi-family and the company has been extending olive branches by agreeing to have some of the property rezoned to single family and to seek a conservation easement to eliminate the chance for any development from the creek to the dead-end streets, creating a buffer for those residents.

The rezoning of 6 acres of land just south of the East Pershing Street extension to Butcher Road, from C-2 General Commercial to RA Multiple Family Residential, and the rezoning of 14.3 acres of the 67.7-acre parcel from RA Multiple Family Residential to RS-2 Single Family Residential will be discussed during a public hearing of Salem City Council at 6 p.m. March 5 in city hall council chambers.

The 90-unit apartment complex is considered the first phase of a three-phase development for the land, with more apartments in phase 2 and single-family homes in phase 3. The first phase would be located in the area requested to be rezoned from commercial to multiple family, something which Councilman Clyde Brown said he opposes. He said they can move their plans to the section already zoned for multiple family.

According to the letter, the development will contain 30 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units 48 two-bedroom, one-bathroom units and 12 three-bedroom, two-bathroom units, with 5 percent of the units for people with mobility impairments and 2 percent for people with sensory impairments.

“The development will contain on-site management, a clubhouse with community room & kitchen, playground, outdoor sprayground area, carwash, resident storage, laundry facilities, and computer kiosks with internet access. Additionally, the units will all contain carpeting, central air conditioning, range, refrigerator, garbage disposal, dishwasher, microwave oven, walk-in closets, and window blinds. Supportive services designed for individuals and families such as budgeting, workforce development & training, child services, etc. will also be provided,” the letter said.

The expected timeline for construction is planned to begin April 2014, ending in April 2015.