Residents voice opposition to low-income housing

CCAP’s proposal for more than 90 small studio units in South Aberdeen worries some who live nearby

The Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday heard from some opponents to a $15 million low-income housing project proposed for construction on the city’s south side for the Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP).

If ultimately constructed, the project would add more than 90 units — 350 square-foot studio dwellings — near Miller Junior High School. Grays Harbor County Commissioners recently pledged $250,000 from the Affordable Housing fund, a portion of local taxes collected for homeless and low-income housing needs. CCAP also plans to request that Aberdeen provide the same amount, thought that may be in in-kind services.

“I’m here to ask you not to give them money,” said Steve Johnson, who lives close to the proposed location. “I’m not against the project, it’s just not right in a residential area.”

It’s anticipated residents living in the housing project would be people receiving CCAP services who currently live in sub-standard housing or are possibly even homeless. CCAP has agreements with Behavioral Health Resources and Evergreen Treatment Services for on-site mental health and substance abuse services for residents.

Rent would be up to $600 a month.

“We’ve tried to talk to CCAP, but CCAP hasn’t contacted us,” Johnson said. “As far as we’re concerned, they’re going to railroad this project through.”

Another resident opposed to the project is Shaney Crosby, who asked the council how city engineers would be involved with the project.

It’s important, she said, because “there are serious issues we have in that area with flooding.”

Mayor Erik Larson told Crosby the developer would probably have to submit a stormwater plan for the site if they want to rezone it. This would describe the project plan, site conditions and how those conditions would be managed.

“They haven’t applied for anything yet,” he told the project opponents. “It will go to the public for comment. There’s a process in place.”

Larson advised the residents to prepare arguments against the project that encompass requirements and to avoid feelings and personal opinions. There will be notifications when public hearings about the project are scheduled. People living within 300 feet will be notified and there will be signs posted around the project area. There will be advertisements in a local newspaper.

When the developer approaches the city, he also stressed that the residents “come prepared.”

Charley Creek purchase called off

Council members approved the purchase of nearly 24 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to Charley Creek last month but the contract for the sale soon will be terminated because “assumptions had been made by the city and owner in error,” Council member Alan Richrod explained.

These errors underestimated the value and total tax amount for two parcels totaling nearly 24 acres. That allows the agreement to be voided under state law. The title report brought the errors to light, including that the 20-acre parcel is worth a lot more than originally thought.

The city planned to have direct access to Charley Creek to remove log jams, better ensure flood prevention and provide future mitigation areas by keeping the water in its channel.

Workshops next week

The City Council will hold two workshops Wednesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. in City Hall and residents are encouraged to attend.

Police Chief Robert Torgerson will focus on earthquakes and tsunamis in his presentation about disaster preparedness. Community Development Director Lisa Scott will discuss building inspections, including possible changes and what will occur as the city prepares to fill that department’s new inspector position.