Ypsi seeks community benefits ordinance committee members for new affordable housing development

The city of Ypsilanti is seeking residents to serve on a community benefits ordinance (CBO) committee that will give feedback on a proposed affordable housing development.

Lincoln Avenue Capital wants to build 306 affordable housing units at 845 and 945 W. Clark Rd., near the intersection of Clark and LeForge Roads, with 150 units dedicated to seniors. Unit prices will range from 40-60% of the area median income.

"It's privately owned and wasn't on the market. The city didn't court this development — the developer came to us," says Joe Meyers, director of economic development for the city.

This is the first development that will trigger the CBO process the city adopted in 2018. Ypsilanti's CBO requires a community benefits agreement for all developers requesting $50,000 or more in financial support from the city. Lincoln Avenue Capital is requesting a 30-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) at 5% of shelter rents, defined as rents minus utilities. The annual difference between estimated taxes and a 5% PILOT is $829,520 per year. Over 30 years, the approximate incentive requested would add up to just under $25 million.

The city has already held one public engagement session in December, and a few residents put their names up for nomination, Meyers says. Another engagement session Feb. 7 will seek more residents to round out an eight- or nine-person committee composed of community members plus an interested city council member.

Meyers says Ypsi's CBO was very specific and will provide guidance to committee members.

"The CBO is written in such a way that the developer knows the typical benefits the city is asking for," Meyers says. "So, in their discussion with the developer, the committee will be making sure that what the developer is providing will satisfy the community."

The Feb. 7 engagement session will be at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, 100 Market Place in Ypsilanti's Depot Town. There's also an option to attend virtually via a Zoom link provided on the city's Facebook page

More information and conceptual designs for the proposed development, a recording of the December engagement meeting, and an application form for those interested in joining the committee, is available here

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Renderings courtesy of Lincoln Avenue Capital.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.