Low income housing project worries homeowners

January 16, 2012 4:56:55 PM PST
A controversy is brewing over the possible construction of affordable housing units near the Fort Bend County subdivision of Greatwood.

Homeowners there say 'not in my back yard.' We talked to many who say they will do what is necessary to keep an affordable housing project from ever breaking ground.

Angela Roe just moved into her Greatwood home two months ago. She likes the view from her front yard but she fears it could soon change.

"That makes me very nervous," Roe said.

Nervous, homeowners in Greatwood say, because developers have filed plans with the state of Texas indicating they wish to develop the land there as affordable housing. They want to build 200 apartments on about 12 acres west of Crabb River Road and north of FM 762.

"I think it's just a really bad idea," said homeowner Connie Fletcher-Powell.

Homeowners fear that might bring crime -- not something they want near their children. Fletcher-Powell compares it to friends of hers living elsewhere near affordable housing.

"It's just been very ugly," she said. "They've had break-ins and robberies. It's very noisy."

Homeowners argue that the apartments would also draw additional traffic to Crabb River Road, a two-lane highway already congested at certain times of day. But some business owners nearby support the development.

"It's going to be good for business, definitely," said convenience store owner Rafik Maknojin.

Yet others who live and work here say this affordable housing project can only be a detriment.

Realtor James Pressler explained, "When somebody looks to move into an area and there's low income housing, they start looking elsewhere."

Pressler worries about the effect on property values. The homeowner's association is now circulating information about the project and contemplating its next move. The way of life there, folks say, should not be jeopardized by a project outside the neighborhood.

The project is being considered by the Miller-Valentine group out of Dayton, Ohio. A senior developer there said late Monday afternoon that there are significant "development hurdles" and that they "probably won't pursue" this project.

But no final decision has been made. He tells us if they decide to move forward, a final application would be filed with the state of Texas in March.