Chandler approves Villas subsidized housing project - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler approves Villas subsidized housing project

November 8th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler approves Villas subsidized housing project

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

The City of Chandler is moving forward with a plan to build more public housing. The City Council approved a development agreement with Gorman and Company for a 157-unit complex to be called Villas on McQueen.

The project was called Trails End the last time it was before Council.

The units would be built on the southeast corner of McQueen Road and Chandler Boulevard. It would consist of units with one to five bedrooms, community space and a park area.

Residents who qualify for public housing pay 30% of their monthly income toward the rent with the federal government picking up the rest. Everyone who wants to live in public housing is vetted to ensure their reported income is correct, and they are legally allowed to live in this country.

“So no one is illegal,” Councilman Matt Orlando asked Amy Jacobson, the city’s housing and redevelopment manager. “Because this keeps coming up over and over again: no one who is illegal gets stay in the housing unit?”

“That is correct,” Jacobson said. “They have to meet eligibility requirements, which includes any individuals that are non-citizens that have eligible and legal immigration status.”

The city has been operating 303 public housing units at a variety of sites since the 1970s. Most of those units are in poor shape and in need of an upgrade.

Chandler plans to use a variety of funding sources to pay for the new construction. None of the money needed to build the complex would cover from the city’s general fund. Instead, it’s coming from a mix of federal and state grants, and other private entities.

The developer is responsible for obtaining all financing.

The project is expected to cost about $1.6 million and is expected to be completed in 2025. It will house mostly families and seniors.

City officials said they intend to upgrade the existing sites by moving residents out of them and into the Villas project. That would increase the number of public housing options.

The city briefly accepted applications for public housing in 2021, but closed it when they received 2,000 applications.

In other Council news, more than 100 residents showed up at the Oct. 27 session to show their opposition to the proposed Landings on Ocotillo affordable housing project.

The project for more than 500 apartments for lower-income and senior residents is being considered by Maricopa County. The city has lodged its objections to the project because it does not fit in with its general or airpark plans.

The residents who spoke said they know it’s a county decision, but they wanted to urge the Mayor and Council to continue to oppose it because they said that area (just east of Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo) cannot handle more traffic.

Mayor Kevin Hartke addressed the crowd.

“We acknowledge your presence, we acknowledge your concerns,” Hartke said. “The city has sent a letter of opposition to the county. I have sent personally a letter of opposition to the county related to this project. Other council members have communicated as well. So apart from that, this is not, as you all know, this is not our vote.”

The next step in the approval process is a public hearing the developer must host. No date has been announced. It will likely be in early December.

Meanwhile, Chandler is hiring a pre-construction manager to oversee the softball and baseball fields being added to Tumbleweed Park.

The city plans to build four lighted artificial turf fields and a restroom facility with construction scheduled to begin in the spring. It is expected to be completed within 180 days after it gets notice to proceed. The $137,000 contract was awarded to Hunter Contracting Company.

The city also is entering into an agreement with the Maricopa Association of Governments to explore adding more protected bike lanes in the city. Chandler currently plans to build four protected bike lanes on city streets. They are spending about $4,500 to see where else they might make sense.

Chandler is taking an expensive step toward addressing climate change. The city will begin switching out all light bulbs to LED, which use less energy and last a lot longer.

Over the long term, it will likely save the city money because they will be changing them out over decades. They have an expected life of 20 years and come with a 10-year guarantee.

However, the upfront cost is substantially higher. Council authorized spending nearly $10.2 million for the new lights. All city lights are expected to be replaced with LED lighting in about 12 months.

The Council also annexed 13.4 acres of county land at the northeast corner of Queen Creek Road and Union Pacific Railroad. The land will be part of a bigger development that still must be approved by Council.