Residents fight to keep low-income housing away

April 5, 2011 8:30:06 PM PDT
Another plan to put low income housing in Fort Bend County has drawn opposition from hundreds of residents. This time the people living in the Westheimer Lakes community want to stop two proposed low income projects. One developer says their project will help working people in the community.

"I think we feel railroaded," resident Chris Clark said.

"Think everybody's the same. Nobody should be judge on the type of income they get," resident Nick Digiacomo said.

"For them to change that to low-income housing really kinda feels like a stab in the back," Westheimer Lakes resident Gayle Dots said.

Most residents of Westheimer Lakes oppose plans to build two low-income housing projects, including one for seniors, near their homes. Some residents say they think the projects will create traffic problems and potentially bring crime -- things they moved to the suburbs to get away from.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs held another public meeting on Tuesday to get comments from residents. Most at the meeting voiced opposition, but one of the two developers said their low-income project will help the area.

"Will provide and benefit to prospective tenants and the community as whole. It is our desire to construct high quality, affordable housing for the working class of Fort Bend County," said Brandon Delk, vice president of development for Pedcor Investments.

Westheimer Lakes residents told us the low income housing will cause their property values to drop. Some have decided to sell before the project can get approval.

"It's definitely a negative thing. It's a negative thing for the neighborhood as a whole but even more so for us because we literally back right up to it," said Brent Wiltz, who's trying to sell his home.

"Personally I don't mind at all, Digiacomo said. "Doesn't bother me, has no affect on me whatsoever. I don't mind it one bit."

The Katy area economic development council has issued a resolution opposing the apartment development. The developer, Pedcor, has asked for $1.5 million in tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

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