UPDATE on proposed housing development in Ballentine

*** UPDATING you (Monday, March 18th, 4:30pm) from an earlier post on the website. My additional comments are listed beneath the letter I am sharing today ***

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority has responded to my letter and Senator Courson’s letter which shared our objection to the proposed Wendover development. The letter reads:

“The Authority is in receipt of your letter opposing the proposed development by Wendover Housing Partners, LLC called Bickley Manor (#13042) on a site across from Ballentine Elementary School. The Authority received a total of 65 applications fro proposed developments throughout the state as part of the Auhtority’s 2013 Tax Credit Application Cycle. The tax credit funding cycle is an annual competitive funding cycle which is governed by a document called the 2013 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP).

One of the requirements of the QAP is that the site be properly zoned for the proposed development and that the developer have site control. Both of these preliminary requirements have been met. As Applications continue on through the review process, they must also meet market and financial/underwriting criteria to ensure financial feasibility. Further, the QAP outlines other criteria all developments must meet in order to be considered competitive and are point scored using the same criteria. A copy of the criteria is attached ( Part One , Part Two ). At th eend of the review process, Applications having the highest point scores receive an allocation of tax credits. The Authority anticipates making aware announcements in July and anticipates funding 16-17 developments.

In recognition of your objection, we have asked a representative from Wendover Housing Partners, LLC to contact you to discuss the concerns of both you and your constituents as it relates to the proposed development.”

(end of letter)

From Nathan: I called the Authority again this morning and spoke directly to Laura Nicholson and Valarie Williams. They shared the same information that is listed above and attached. I wanted to also share my “takeway” from today’s conversations.

1) Apparently the land IS zoned for this development AND there is a current sales contract. Those are 2 of the “first hurdles” for developers. For those of us against the project (and I’ve yet to hear anyone from this area say they are FOR the project), this news is not good.

2) The “good news” I heard is that there are 65 applications throughout the state for these projects and the state will und between 16-17 projects. (Of course, that still means “there’s a chance” this happens but less likely than I had feared). Basically, one-in-four will get funded AND that assumes all 65 applications are scored with the same score such that all 65 are competing against each other. If 20 scored “perfectly” but Wendover did not; Wendover would not get the tax credit. I would feel that would severely change Wendover’s desire to build but would need to ask our local councilman to keep us informed if the contract for purchase of land still went through.

3) For those that clicked on the links above, you’ll see how these applications are “scored”. I was told last year out of 82 applicatinos, 65 had “perfect scores”. That meant only 65 of 82 projects were even considered. And of those 65 “perfect scores” the state only funded 15.

4) Our feedback is not a PRIMARY factor involved in the ‘scoring process’ but it will be taken into account in any “tiebreaker” situations. What I learned that meant was “all things being equal” (scoring of projects) those projects with OPPOSITION would not be considered for funding over projects that did not have opposition.

What does this all mean (at least MY OPINION), this is obviously not a “done deal” yet (although I was concerned to hear the zoning is ok and there is a sales contract pending) and it appears to me there’s a long way to go for this out-of-state developer to get his tax credits approved. (Again, state should only have funding for 16 or 17 of these 65 applications; Wendover project being one of those 65).

Please feel free to share your input (opposed or supportive) to the Authority as outlined in my earlier post last week. I will obviously work with our local County Councilman Bill Malinowski and our Senator, John Courson, and other area elected officials to keep everyone informed as I learn more.