Garfield Directors Consider BATA Housing Plans | Local News
TRAVERSE CITY – Garfield Township Trustees will consider whether to give preliminary approval to plans for a new bus system headquarters, apartments with below market rents and more.
Their vote on Tuesday could mean the plans for the Bay Area Transportation Authority and Traverse City Housing Authority are ready for the next step: further scrutiny by a dozen outside agencies, township planner John Sych said.
That’s what township planners unanimously recommended at their May 12 meeting, and Garfield’s supervisor Chuck Korn said he did not anticipate any controversy at this point.
“I’m sure there are still the 101 details, but this is a preliminary concept review, so I think it’s a first step for the board,” he said. declared.
The Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties public bus agency and the city’s public housing service want to partner in a multi-million dollar project to build hundreds of apartments and a series of single-family homes in proximity to a new home for BATA east of LaFranier Route and north of Hammond Road as previously noted.
“I think that at this stage of the project we are really delighted to have obtained the approval of the planning commission and we have retained the integrity of the project in its original design, which was to provide housing for the hand -Work adjacent to transit facilities, ”said Kelly Dunham, CEO of BATA.
Dunham said Thursday that BATA’s board of directors was in the process of choosing a company to handle the construction. This company will establish a final budget for the project. She predicts that rising construction and material costs will push the price up beyond the $ 17 million initially guaranteed – the state contributed to a $ 13.38 million Federal Transit Administration grant awarded in August 2020.
Federal funding for COVID-19 relief could help close this gap, Dunham said. The same goes for the sale of BATA’s current facilities on the South Airport and Cass routes.
If township administrators give preliminary approval, it will help move plans forward soon after the timer starts over a three-year window to spend the grant money, Dunham said.
Tony Lentych, executive director of TCHC, said the commission is awaiting final approval before applying for a loan to purchase the land and low-income housing tax credits to develop it. The commission will apply in October for the latter.
Plans to date are for 210 apartments in total, to be built in two phases, Lentych said. This would be housing for the workforce, which typically rent to people earning 60 to 80 percent of the area’s median income – up to $ 68,000 for a family of four, according to Michigan State Housing Development. Authority – although different sources of funding may allow higher rents. .
“We try to provide lower than market rents, that’s our goal,” he said. “We don’t want to play on the market rate scene.”
Single-family homes could be in a future phase – drawings show 15 locations, although that may change – and the commission is working to find a non-profit or other partner to help build them, Lentych said. The idea for now is to build houses that would sell for less than $ 225,000.
Township planners want to be sure the first phase of construction includes housing, Sych said. Plans to split these different phases are underway, but so far the first phase is reportedly 120-140 units.
It is the public interest that the township seeks in return for the kind of flexibility that a planned unit development process allows, Sych said.
“Workforce housing has been one of those things that the township has always supported and definitely sees that it is also a key part of this plan,” he said.
Two other proposed buildings could house a daycare and a cafe or convenience store, Dunham said.
The site plan includes setbacks from a creek that runs through the property, and the State Department of Great Lakes Environment and Energy will consider wetland delineation to help avoid impacts on the property. these too, Sych said.
Dunham said an assessment by an environmental engineer found agricultural chemical remains on the property, but it is mostly along LaFranier Road and would be largely covered by a proposed suburban lot.
If approved, the plans will go through a series of engineering-type reviews such as the location of underground utilities, verification of storm water controls and fire safety, to name a few, Sych said. They would then go to the township trustees for final approval, and that future step would include a public hearing.