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Columbia Community Land Trust makes progress towards construction for affordable housing

Columbia Community Land Trust makes...

The Columbia Community Land Trust has made progress in building four new homes on Lynn Street in central Columbia.

The board met on Monday night to discuss more details about what would be in the "ground lease" agreement. Essentially, it's an  agreement between the city and the new homeowner. 

One of the articles discussed at Monday night's meeting includes having an attorney certify that the new homeowners and attorney have read over the agreement and are both in understanding. Some board members believed that would turn people away from wanting to buy a home in case they couldn't afford an attorney. The board agreed to provide legal aid at no cost for those that couldn't afford it. 

The board is still in the early stages or working out how to process applications to live in the homes, as well as detailing the terms of the ground lease. The board says the only requirements for future homeowners will depend on income, credit check and to be able to qualify for a bank loan.

Randy Cole, Housing Program supervisor for the city says the board hopes to have the ground lease written up and approved by April. Construction would begin in May or June, marketing for the new homes would begin around July and the move-in process would happen around the fall.

The board says they have heard back from five contractors interested in building the homes. A bidder conference was held earlier this month. Proposals are due Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. Staff will then have a public open house to present the proposals on Feb. 21 at 8 a.m.

The city transferred four lots in central Columbia to the last trust board, a group of City Council appointees. The CCLT will work with $200,000 the city council dedicated to them in 2014. Community development specialist Randy Cole said $190,000 will help fund construction, while $10,000 would go toward legal and accounting services. 

While this is only the second meeting the board has had, the city is already looking forward to 2018. The city has recommended the consideration of building more property at N. Eighth Street, another lot the city owns. Eighth Street is located just south of business loop in the north central neighborhood.

The board says they have gotten good feedback from the neighborhood association about developing affordable housing on that site. ABC 17 News spoke with neighbors who had mixed feelings however. Robert Clay believes that the city should prioritize building up the community first.

"We're mixing new and old houses together," Clay said. " I think we should see about what we do to better the community." 

Local architect, Nick Peckham has offered to provide his services for the design of the project. Initial concepts would be similar to the four homes on Lynn Street Cottages. 

 


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