Annexation could bring low-income housing

Gary B. Gray • Updated Dec 30, 2016 at 10:54 PM

Johnson City Housing Authority Executive Director Richard McClain confirmed Friday that Keystone Development is among the finalists for funding that would be used to build a 64-unit, 100-person low-income housing development off Huffine Road.

The 12.8-acre location is about 3 miles south of the North State of Franklin/West Walnut intersection at 1007 Huffine Road. It currently is positioned in an unincorporated part of Washington County.

“The JCHA is looking at buying property there to expand opportunity for low-income housing in the community,” said Richard McClain, JCHA executive director. “Keystone Development has built apartments at several Johnson City sites, and we’re looking to expand for those who are ‘under-housed.’

“This is not public housing; it’s low-income housing. We’re asking the city to annex the property. Federal tax credit funding through private entities would help fund this, not state or federal grants. We’re one of four entities that have made the cut and are finalists in the competition. Keystone Development would receive the funding, and the JCHA would operate the development.”

City commissioners will consider first readings to annex the property and to assign RP-3 (planned residential) zoning at its next meeting on Jan. 5.

The Johnson City Regional Planning Commission approved the plan on Dec. 13 in a 8-0-1 vote, which included one abstention. City Planner Matthew Young said the property is currently zoned R-2A (medium-density residential) under the county’s zoning regulations. No one spoke in opposition to the development at the meeting, he added.

Young also said the JCHA will hold a public meeting regarding the development at 9 a.m. on Jan. 3 at the Keystone Community Recreation Center, 841 Pardee St.

Johnson City Mayor David Tomita also confirmed the request.

“The City Commission has not yet voted on this, but I am aware of it and I’ve received a few emails — not a tremendous amount,” Tomita said. “Everybody immediately thinks their property values will go down, and I understand that. But it’s a knee-jerk reaction.

“That area is not part of the municipality right now, and it may not need to be annexed. If you look at a couple of the projects they’ve done, they’re pretty nice. There are some near my house.”

Email Gary Gray at [email protected]. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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