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GRDadof3

The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

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The one issue that this isn't addressing is displacement by artificially inflating rental rates.  I know that's a sticky situation and involves a lot of people,  a whole lot smarter than me but it needs to be addressed. 

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1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

Do you think the program is a good or bad idea

Looks to me like a tedious nightmare having little to no impact other than to further impede the creation of more housing, thus limiting the growth and economic vitality of the city.
Large projects are slow, only large projects go in for the - very complicated - public assistance, and slow projects have the timeline to move people out at the end of their leases;  the amount of "displacement" they create using a precise definition of the term is small.   Displacement occurs principally in a diffuse manner through the independent actions of many players in the Single Family Home market, which is ~80%+ of the city.

IMO, this kind of proposal is principally an expression of the irrational loathing Progressives feel towards Developers.  So, maybe it will get "considered", as the City Commission does not have the political grit to look at Single Family Zoning, and "considering" it will look good.

1 hour ago, thebeerqueer said:

artificially inflating rental rates

Does someone have evidence of this?  And, what does that even mean?  Rents above what the market will bear generally results in vacancy.

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51 minutes ago, whitemice said:

Does someone have evidence of this?  And, what does that even mean?  Rents above what the market will bear generally results in vacancy.

I'm sure a place like ICCF or Dwelling Place has the numbers. 

I should have phrased my statement differently, lopng term residents being displaced from their current rental due to increasing rates of housing as a result of new projects leasing at higher rates. Anecdotally,  as a homeowner on the Westside for over a decade, I can say this has most definitely been happening. For an example Challenge Scholars program is having a difficult time keeping families in the neighborhoods that feed into the schools that qualify for the the college tuition credits because the rental rates have increased so rapidly in the last two years. Thankfully, orgs like ICCF are building affordable housing to keep those families in the Challenge Scholar zones. 

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2 hours ago, thebeerqueer said:

due to increasing rates of housing as a result of new projects leasing at higher rates

This is a false causality.  Development occurs due to increased demand and/or desirability.  Rents were going up with or without those developments.

2 hours ago, thebeerqueer said:

Thankfully, orgs like ICCF are building affordable housing...

Agree.

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7 hours ago, whitemice said:

Looks to me like a tedious nightmare having little to no impact other than to further impede the creation of more housing, thus limiting the growth and economic vitality of the city.
Large projects are slow, only large projects go in for the - very complicated - public assistance, and slow projects have the timeline to move people out at the end of their leases;  the amount of "displacement" they create using a precise definition of the term is small.   Displacement occurs principally in a diffuse manner through the independent actions of many players in the Single Family Home market, which is ~80%+ of the city.

IMO, this kind of proposal is principally an expression of the irrational loathing Progressives feel towards Developers.  So, maybe it will get "considered", as the City Commission does not have the political grit to look at Single Family Zoning, and "considering" it will look good.

Does someone have evidence of this?  And, what does that even mean?  Rents above what the market will bear generally results in vacancy.

I think you're right. There were probably people who said "we're incentivizing developments with tax credits, which are in turn pushing up rents forcing people out." At first glance it seems like the city is "culpable" in this. But that's a very rudimentary understanding of development work. And correlation does not equal causation. 

But to beerqueer's point, the GRCF has quantified the exact number of families displaced in the Challenge Scholars program, and what the rent increases have been. 

The only project that article mentions is Belknap. I'm hard pressed to think of another one that would qualify.

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On 11/15/2018 at 7:24 AM, GRDadof3 said:

This is an interesting concept:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Developers who accept public funds would be required to pay residents, who are displaced because of commercial or residential real estate projects, upwards of $3,500, under a proposal being considered by the city of Grand Rapids.

The idea is modeled after policies in cities such as Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Mountain View, California, city officials said, and is designed to help renters who are displaced - due to demolition or building renovations - pay for moving expenses and the first three months of rent at another apartment.

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2018/11/grand_rapids_developers_that_a.html

I don't see an issue with it as long as it's just for residents who are "directly" displaced by a project.  ie someone down the street from a project was displaced because of increased rents in the neighborhood, should not be eligible. And if someone owned a house that was purchased for a fair market price to make way for the development, they shouldn't be eligible for the payment either.  Right?

 

The problem I have with it is that renters are considered displaced even when their leases are up.  IMO if you don't have a lease agreement, you're not displaced.

The reason for the Austin policy is that Oracle wanted to build a corporate campus on a site occupied by run down 1970s era apartments, and leases were allegedly broken with little to no compensation for the residents in order for Demo to start ASAP.  I don't know if the rumors about broken leases was true or not, but that would definitely be wrong.  On the bright side, Oracle built their campus and will eventually employ 10K. 

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I grew up in Baxter and live there now.   I love the stuff going on on Wealthy St but of course it has the potential trial to displace residence because of rising housing costs.   Luckily I’m in no danger of being priced out, but many longtime residents are   I like this development just off the main Wealthy Street corridor.   ICCF is doing some incredible work around the city imo.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2018/11/affordable_housing_project_com.html

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Looking forward to finally some development running down Eastern! This is still very exciting.

 

My biggest hope is that the ICCF runs a tight ship here. "Low income" housing + homeless youth is potentially inviting problems if they dont have rock-solid management and security.

 

I also saw nothing regarding the ground-floor usage. I would hope that it is useful retail and not ground-floor offices for non-profits or social services whose lights go out at 5PM. Get some of that foot traffic from Wealthy down to attractive places down there.

Have this be a real catalyst for a positive change, and not have this turn into a quasi-housing project, with a dash of Degege.

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Looks like at least some members of the county commission are concerned about mission creep at the land bank.  I was wondering about that myself back in June when the name changed from land bank to InnovaLaB and there was talk about doing some of these modular homes in other counties:

The land bank has really done a good job, hope this can be straightened out.

MLIVE: citing mission creep kent county may dissolve its land-bank

 

  

Edited by walker

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5 hours ago, KCLBADave said:

Walker, thanks for the encouragement.  One important point of clarification.  Any work done by the KCLBA/InnovaLaB out side of the County was/is being done by request of an in concert with the State Land Bank Authority and other County Land Banks on land they own.  We are acting only as a modular consultant, never a developer.  The KCLBA/InnovaLaB does not and will not own or be the sole developer on any project outside Kent County. 

I think the mistake here was rebranding as "InnovaLaB" and then wandering off into the weeds with this modular home and "missing middle" housing stuff.   Noble intentions, to be sure.  I've griped here quite a bit about the short-sighted neighborhood associations that have done all they can to interfere with the City's efforts in this area because they fear/dislike renters.  I think you're trying to do the right thing, but I also think you've gone far outside of the job description, which was revenue capture and blight remediation.  The land bank is not a nonprofit, and this sort of mission creep--which seems fairly undeniable from the December report--is arguably inappropriate.  The KCLBA is effectively a county agency that looks for all the world like it has gone off the rails.  Hopefully a course correction can be made and the KCLBA can get back on track, because it does have a potentially valuable purpose in title clearing and blight remediation.

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1 hour ago, x99 said:

I think the mistake here was rebranding as "InnovaLaB" and then wandering off into the weeds with this modular home and "missing middle" housing stuff.   Noble intentions, to be sure.  I've griped here quite a bit about the short-sighted neighborhood associations that have done all they can to interfere with the City's efforts in this area because they fear/dislike renters.  I think you're trying to do the right thing, but I also think you've gone far outside of the job description, which was revenue capture and blight remediation.  The land bank is not a nonprofit, and this sort of mission creep--which seems fairly undeniable from the December report--is arguably inappropriate.  The KCLBA is effectively a county agency that looks for all the world like it has gone off the rails.  Hopefully a course correction can be made and the KCLBA can get back on track, because it does have a potentially valuable purpose in title clearing and blight remediation.

X99, I could go on and on and on in response to your comment.  Instead I will respectfully disagree with you.

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3 hours ago, KCLBADave said:

X99, I could go on and on and on in response to your comment.  Instead I will respectfully disagree with you.

Maybe it is time to spinoff the InnovaLab into its own entity? :dontknow:  I think it's a cool idea maybe it can stand on its own. 

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Outside of "mission creep" what was the actual reasoning for dissolving it?  Was it a liability to the county?  Was it not self sustaining and using tax payer dollars?  The way the articles I read were written it sounded as if the commissioner behind having it dissolved had almost a sensation of pleasure at doing so.  As if it were ideological and not a fiscal decision.

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So correct me if I am wrong, the Land Bank was created for the excessive number of foreclosures during the last housing recession.  Was the initial intent for the Land Bank to be permanent?

I know the Land Bank did have a number of "enemies" such as the RPOA.

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3 minutes ago, KCLBADave said:

 

The KCLBA never received a dime of money from the County, not even so much as a paper clip.  We are completely self sustaining, in fact one of the only land banks in the country that is not a line item in a County budget and are touted as a State-wide and national model.  We hired Michigan State Land Policy Institute to do a qualitative and quantitate analysis of our work.  The results were that in 4 years the KCLBA created over 200 direct new jobs, over $40,000,000 in county-wide economic impact, and create $1.75 of value for every $1 we spent.  Those are some pretty incredible stats.

 

This is the part that gets me.  If KCLBA wasn't costing the county a dime, and was a model being looked at on a national level, why dissolve it?   There has to be something very personal if not a conflict of interest  behind the motives of the person(s) driving for it's dissolution?   Especially with as fast as this came about and seemingly out of nowhere.

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Dave,

Under the Michigan legislation, can the City of Grand Rapids (or Wyoming or Kentwood for that matter) form and have authorized their own separate from the county land bank?  How is the Detroit Land Bank Authority set up?  Google tells me that all the members of the Michigan Association of Land Banks are county land banks, although a board member of that association is from the Detroit Land Bank Authority. 

EDIT:

Here's a link to the just posted MLIVE story:

MLIVE: time-to-move-on-kent-county-disbands-land-bank

This hints to the answers to my questions;

"Saalfeld said municipalities that previously utilized the county land bank can get those same services by entering into agreements with the state."

Edited by walker
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That's a real disappointment. I considered what KCLBA was doing recently to be a bit of a pivot. Market conditions have changed since 2009. Smart businesses typically pivot as conditions change, but that doesn't make the organization any less useful / needed. 

So Dave, with everything you've learned about modular building and the appetite for this type of housing stock in the city, is this business sustainable as a for profit (or non-profit), without the County's "help
 or "oversight"? Or is it difficult to make the numbers work without the availability of lots / real estate? 

Joe

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2 hours ago, MJLO said:

This is the part that gets me.  If KCLBA wasn't costing the county a dime, and was a model being looked at on a national level, why dissolve it?   There has to be something very personal if not a conflict of interest  behind the motives of the person(s) driving for it's dissolution?   Especially with as fast as this came about and seemingly out of nowhere.

I saw a "debate" on Facebook amongst a number of Realtors and the real beef seems to be that the KCLB got preferential access to blighted properties that should have gone up for auction and would have been subjected to the free market. Investors (landlords) were being shut out of opportunities to purchase the properties. Instead, the KCLB was "hoarding" them, partnering with non-profits, doing substandard renovations (not my words), and offering them to low income households. How horrible. :P 

It's really disgusting how this all went down so fast. Wayman Britt who shoved this through at the County, sits as a trustee at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, who is a huge supporter of the KCLB. Also Jim Saalfeld on the board was part of this, who got busted for violating the Open Meetings Act this past summer.  There's a big belief that they wanted to do it now before the board changes political makeup in 2019 from the GOP's shellacking in the mid-terms.  Wait, this is political? Of course it is. 

 

2 hours ago, KCLBADave said:

Hello everyone.  I guess I need to change my name here on UP since there will be no more KCLBA.

Let me address a couple issues.  When the KCLBA was approved in 2009 there certainly was a lot of talk with commissioners about the need to use it to address blight.  But Ken Parrish the County Treasurer was VERY clear that he thought that Kent County could use all of the tools a land bank brings.  When you read the motion to authorize Ken to sign the legal docs to form the land bank there was NO specific charge to only deal with blight.

In fact if you read the enabling legislation for land banks the paragraph that lays out the need for such legislation ties it to acquisition, clearing title, and selling real estate to spur the economy of the local units of government.

The label "mission creep" is highly misleading.  County Commissioner Jim Talen quoted this earlier today from the "interwebs"

Mission creep is when your nonprofit organization expands its mission beyond the original goals that were set.  There is a difference between mission creep and making strategic adaptations to a mission statement to evolve as needs change around us.

The difference is that strategic adaptations should be weighed organization-wide and involve a critical thinking process before implementation.  Mission creep usually occurs as a rash decision or during a crisis situation.

I really like this distinction between making a rash decision or a decision based on strategic decision based on the conditions around you.

It is important to note that one of the loudest criticisms heard today about the KCLBA's work was that the County felt blind sided about the move to modular homes and the brand change to InnovaLaB.  These two decision came out of a long and detailed Strategic Planning session with our board, advisory committee, and stakeholders.  We recognize that the County is a KEY stakeholder and had one of their Executive Staff at every single session when these decisions came to the surface.   On top of that,  the County Commissioners were all given copies of the Strategic Plan.

The KCLBA never received a dime of money from the County, not even so much as a paper clip.  We are completely self sustaining, in fact one of the only land banks in the country that is not a line item in a County budget and are touted as a State-wide and national model.  We hired Michigan State Land Policy Institute to do a qualitative and quantitate analysis of our work.  The results were that in 4 years the KCLBA created over 200 direct new jobs, over $40,000,000 in county-wide economic impact, and create $1.75 of value for every $1 we spent.  Those are some pretty incredible stats.

Ironically, just before the County voted to shut us down, they had to vote to (I believe) forgive a $400,000 debt from the West Michigan Sports Commission.  It has been up and running for almost the same amount of time as the KCLBA, was given a $1M loan to begin, and is still not financially solvent.  Yet this was touted as a huge success because they supposedly had an impact on tourism.

At any rate, now we need to begin the work of figuring out how to wind down the company, and I will think up a new UP handle.

I'm sure this won't be the last we hear from you Dave. We look forward to new ventures and new usernames. 

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4 hours ago, walker said:

Dave,

Under the Michigan legislation, can the City of Grand Rapids (or Wyoming or Kentwood for that matter) form and have authorized their own separate from the county land bank?  How is the Detroit Land Bank Authority set up?  Google tells me that all the members of the Michigan Association of Land Banks are county land banks, although a board member of that association is from the Detroit Land Bank Authority. 

EDIT:

Here's a link to the just posted MLIVE story:

MLIVE: time-to-move-on-kent-county-disbands-land-bank

This hints to the answers to my questions;

"Saalfeld said municipalities that previously utilized the county land bank can get those same services by entering into agreements with the state."

Saalfeld is absolutely wrong.  Well he is wrong about a lot of things related to the KCLBA, but that’s another post.  Cities can establish a land bank if they are a “qualified” City.  The land bank definition of “qualified” is that they have a public school system of more than 100,000 students.  When land bank legislation was passed only Detroit was qualified.  

1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

I saw a "debate" on Facebook amongst a number of Realtors and the real beef seems to be that the KCLB got preferential access to blighted properties that should have gone up for auction and would have been subjected to the free market. Investors (landlords) were being shut out of opportunities to purchase the properties. Instead, the KCLB was "hoarding" them, partnering with non-profits, doing substandard renovations (not my words), and offering them to low income households. How horrible. :P 

It's really disgusting how this all went down so fast. Wayman Britt who shoved this through at the County, sits as a trustee at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, who is a huge supporter of the KCLB. Also Jim Saalfeld on the board was part of this, who got busted for violating the Open Meetings Act this past summer.  There's a big belief that they wanted to do it now before the board changes political makeup in 2019 from the GOP's shellacking in the mid-terms.  Wait, this is political? Of course it is. 

 

I'm sure this won't be the last we hear from you Dave. We look forward to new ventures and new usernames. 

Bingo on rushing it through for political reasons.  I think Saalfeld wanted to preside over the vote while he was still County Board Chair as well.

Viola’ Welcome to my new user name.  Get it? :tw_wink:

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19 hours ago, ModSquad said:

The KCLBA never received a dime of money from the County, not even so much as a paper clip.  We are completely self sustaining, in fact one of the only land banks in the country that is not a line item in a County budget and are touted as a State-wide and national model.  We hired Michigan State Land Policy Institute to do a qualitative and quantitate analysis of our work.  The results were that in 4 years the KCLBA created over 200 direct new jobs, over $40,000,000 in county-wide economic impact, and create $1.75 of value for every $1 we spent.  Those are some pretty incredible stats. 

 

That's highly misleading. While the county doesn't appropriate general fund money to the land bank, the KCLBA receives 50% of the property taxes from every property it sells for five years. So you get the money before the county does, along with money from every other entity that would otherwise get it... cities, townships, library districts, schools, etc. $340,000 this year alone (as of November, according to your financials, and over $400,000 in 2017). And you don't in any way break down on your web site which entities you're preemptively getting that money from, so we have no clear idea which local governments are being impacted and by how much.

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