Some affordable housing proposals in area stirring controversy

Residents in the lakeside community of Chapin were adamant last week about not wanting a proposed affordable housing development in their town, but the project is just one of several proposed for the Midlands area.

The Chapin project calls for a 48-unit low-income apartment complex, but residents have said they don’t want apartments of any kind in their town. Approximately 150 people spoke out against the development at a town hall meeting on April 6 saying the development would put too much strain on the town’s infrastructure and schools.

Connelly Builders cuts the ribbon on Wescott Place in Irmo. (photo provided)

Connelly Builders cuts the ribbon on Wescott Place in Irmo. (Photo provided)

In addition to the controversial Chapin project, three development projects proposed for the Irmo area and one proposed in Columbia are among 42 applications pending before the state Housing Finance & Development Authority. Developers from Columbia and the Atlanta area have requested tax credits for their projects through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC).

Proposed local projects are as follows:

  • The Pointe at Lake Murray — 56 family units on Ballentine Park Road, Irmo
  • The Park at Lake Murray — 56 seniors units on Ballentine Park Road, Irmo
  • Cinnaberry Pointe — 32 seniors units on Lake Murray Boulevard, Irmo
  • Veranda at North Main — 50 seniors units on N. Main Street, Columbia

Lexington-based Connelly Builders has submitted plans for Cinnaberry Pointe in the 1400 block of Lake Murray Boulevard near the intersection of St. Andrews Road and Lake Murray Boulevard.

The development would be aimed at low-income residents age 55 and older, said Kevin Connelly, president of Connelly Builders.

“It is not a Section 8 property, but we do accept Section 8 voucher-holders as long as they meet the same qualifications as the other residents, which means that they have to pass our criminal history checks, renter background checks and credit requirements,” Connelly said.

Irmo Town Administrator Bob Brown said he’s heard no concerns raised about the proposed Cinnaberry Pointe project.

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Affordable Housing – does not cost more than 30-33 percent of a household’s income

Section 8 Housing – low-income residents can apply for rental assistance

*Information from S.C. Housing and U.S. Department of Housing (HUD)

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Connelly Builders built Wescott Place, a community for low-income seniors in Irmo, and is in the early stages of building Hampton’s Crossing, a 48-unit community for low-income seniors in Lexington, and Abernathy Place, a 64-unit community for low-income families on Garners Ferry Road in Columbia.

Ken Blankenship of Prestwick Development in Atlanta has applied for the The Pointe at Lake Murray and The Park at Lake Murray projects in Irmo. When asked about the developments, Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski, who represents Chapin and Irmo, said he opposes them “because of their potential negative impact on property values, as well as infrastructure.”

If approved, Veranda at North Main would be Atlanta-based Integral Group’s first foray into South Carolina. The development is aimed at low-income seniors.

As in most cities, there is a shortage of housing for seniors in Columbia , said Vicki Lundy Wilbon, Integral’s president of community development. The proposed Veranda at North Main is an extension of the developer’s “Veranda” brand for independent seniors.

“Our senior communities rival those that are market value,” Lundy Wilbon said.

Clayton Ingram, SC Housing spokesperson, said tax-credit awards typically are announced in July or August.

To learn more about the tax-credit programs and past projects, go to SCHousing.org.

Categories: Lexington County, Local News, Richland County

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