Dare County Commissioners have moved ahead with designating two sites to assess for a mix of year-round labor and essential housing.
At a June 1 special meeting on housing, the commissioners asked the staff of the Development Finance Initiative of the UNC School of Government to assess two sites: the Bowsertown site belonging to County of Dare and the current Elizabethan Inn, privately owned, in Manteo.
The Chairman of the Council of Commissioners, Robert L. Woodard, opened the special council meeting by saying, âIt is time for us to move; it’s time for us to have a plan.
He also said “we are going to have to spend the money”.
Financing for Development Initiative project leader Sarah Odio is expected to develop the information needed to assess the two sites, recommend a way forward, and present a draft RFP soliciting responses from private developers.
Usually, the survey will focus on mixed housing, combining different income levels.
For County Dare, workforce housing is defined by income and rental limits set in a low-income housing tax credit program. The federal government grants tax credits to states. In North Carolina, the agency is called the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, which provides tax credits to private development through a competitive process. The developers then sell the credits to private investors to obtain financing. When the units are occupied, investors can benefit from the tax credit over a period of 10 years.
For the 4% tax credit, applications can be made at any time between May 1 and October 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. according to the information in the 2021 Qualified Demand Plan published by the National Housing Finance Agency.
For the low-income housing tax credit program, the maximum income is $ 42,000 per year for two-income households and $ 38,000 for a single person. Typically, Dare commissioners expect rents below $ 1,000.
The 7.8-acre Bowsertown site has been designated for at least 15 years as a location for workforce housing. It seems eligible for a 4% tax credit project.
The Elizabethan Inn is a new entry to the site. The hostel has 78 units, says Raj Patel of the hostel. The hostel itself has an apartment, efficiency, and individual and interconnecting rooms, which can be combined to form an apartment or efficiency with some renovations. Various amenities are associated with the inn, such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a meeting room, a gym and a restaurant.
At the meeting, Odio said the rental housing shortage for low-income residents is 1,200 units. The projects envisage partnerships with municipalities. The two sites under study would require collaboration with the City of Manteo.
County manager Robert L. Outten told council staff tried to draft a request for proposals but did not have enough information. “We just need to have a direction.”
Outten also said it was possible to “mix” tax credit units with essential housing, which cater to public service workers.
Odio said a funding gap due to land values ââand construction costs could require a âsoft loanâ of between $ 4 million and $ 5 million plus land costs in any proposal.
She said the SAGA-Taft Mills Group’s proposal “is reasonable”. This proposal requires a $ 4.5 million loan from the county. “The gap is the gap.”
During the discussion, Woodard said SAGA’s proposal was not on the table, due to rising construction costs requiring cost recalculation. The proposal called for a response before June 7.
Outten will lead a working group to study the details.
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