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Affordable housing to blossom in Carrabelle

David Adlerstein
The Apalachicola Times

Carrabelle’s stock of affordable housing is about to get larger, as plans are moving forward to transform the site of the former Carrabelle High School into a 30-unit development, and to begin construction at Jordan Bayou.

During an online appearance at the Sept. 3 regular meeting of the city commission, Ariana Brendle, development manager at McDowell Housing Partners, outlined plans for the New River Landing residential development at Gray Avenue.

A sketch of what the rental units on the former Carrabelle High School will look.

An affordable housing development funded through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, the units will be for lease, and not for sale as fee simple lots.

City Attorney Dan Hartman told commissioners that the city’s planning and zoning board had recommended the project after reviewing a preliminary site plan. “They felt it met the code requirements for preliminary approval,” he said.

Each of the units will have driveway access, and their own utilities. Access to the units will be by a roadway connecting to Gray Avenue, through the site, and connecting to Barefoot Lane, with seven of the units having direct driveway connection to Barefoot Lane.

“It is contemplated that the roadway through the site can be publicly dedicated such that ownership and maintenance of the roadway would be by the city,” wrote McDowell in their project narrative, “As part of this application, the applicant is requesting to dedicate the roadway to the public (either) by a plat or by dedication by instrument.”

McDowell noted that the project is not located within the Coastal High Hazard area, but that as part of the Critical Shoreline Overlay District, that extends 150 feet inland from wetland areas. This means that impervious surface shall not exceed 20 percent of the portion within the district and that wetland impacts are to mitigated at a 2:1 ratio.

McDowell wrote that the impervious area proposed within the CSD area is 1.3 percent, and no wetland areas are impacted by the project.

Since the site slopes generally towards the south, stormwater from the site will be directed to a r management facility, which will discharge towards the south.

Because the overall impervious area is reduced by this project, a stormwater management facility is not needed for attenuation purposes. “It is anticipated that the stormwater facility will provide fill material and become a wet pond feature on the site,” wrote the developers.

Brendle said McDowell intends to keep the site as a rental community in the reach of low and middle income families.  “We have no plans to turn it to market rate at any point,” she said.

She said the company also had closed that day on its Jordan Bayou development, off Airport Road, which is proposed to have 50 two and three-bedroom units and a community room. She said Royal American will be managing both of these properties.

To finance the project, McDowell secured a $5 million federal HOME Investment Partnership Loan, which is funneled through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. This low-interest loan requires some, but not all, of the units be set aside for affordable housing.

Shear said the HOME loan will provide construction and permanent financing of 50 two-bedroom, two-bath single-family homes, currently estimated to be between 1,000 to 1,200 square feet.

In consideration for the favorable financing, 39 of the 50 homes will be set at workforce rental levels adjusted annually by the department of Housing and Urban Development.

Of the 39 restricted units, eight will be set aside at Low HOME rents and 31 at High HOME rents, which would mean two-bedroom, two-bath units for the Lows will be $586 monthly, and for the Highs $784 per month. Maximum income in 2018 for a three-person family were $37,550 and the max for a four-person family was $41,700.