Katy says 'no thanks' to housing project

March 24, 2010 3:31:16 PM PDT
A plan to add more low income housing west of Houston is coming under fire by neighbors, and city leaders in Katy. The idea is to build a new apartment community on 13 acres just outside Katy's city limits. The proposed complex would be on the east side of Katy Fort Bend Road and directly north of Grand Harbor Drive. A company, WP West Development Enterprises out of Charlotte, North Carolina, has filed an application with the state to build that housing project at the location. But the city of Katy says, not so fast.

Just beyond Bobby Travis's back fence is the property where the apartments could be built.

He said, "In general, I do not like the idea of a low income housing project being built in my backyard."

Travis worries about it hurting property values and about the crime that he fears could come with new, low-income neighbors. If approved by the state, the 176 unit complex would be built on about 14 acres here.

"I don't want to sound like we're above providing assistance to people that need it," Travis said. "I'm just not sure this is the proper place."

The Grand Harbor subdivision by most accounts is a middle to upper middle class area. The homes run to several hundred thousand dollars. Some are built on prime property, even on a lake. Everyone we talked to said the same thing -- that a low income housing project just wouldn't fit in. They fear an increase in crime and vandalism.

"It's a good neighborhood here," said homeowner Anissa Picard. "I would just hate for it to go down."

The City of Katy actually passed a resolution recently against construction of the apartments here. Although the land isn't in city limits, Mayor Don Elder says the apartments could put additional strain on Katy law enforcement, fire and EMS. Plus, Elder says he worries about what he believes is the transient nature of someone living in low-income housing.

He said, "We have to make our decisions in the best interests for our taxpayers and for our homeowners that live in our community."

Mayor Elder also says it could be an issue that there's not much in the way of public transportation out here. No one with WP West Development returned our repeated calls and emails today seeking comment.

The state has scheduled a public meeting on this project. That's set for April 7th at 6pm, at Houston City Hall, in the annex at 900 Bagby.


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