Affordable Housing Update

Culver took a step forward with their Affordable Housing Task Force on Wednesday March 11th.  Representatives from the Town Council, Redevelopment Commission, Plan Commission, Public Schools, Culver Academies and MCEDC met at the library to discuss the issues and goals regarding affordable housing.  With the exception of two with staff positions, all were volunteers from the community stepping up to try and make things better.

Based on the premise that Culver’s median household income is $45,235 and Culver’s median house or condo value is $151,337 (both are 2012 numbers, the latest number found by the Town Manager) the group determined we should be looking at housing for household incomes in the $35,000 to $40,000 range.  That pretty much follows the math I did previously here that would indicate that our target audience could own a home at the median value if they had the down payment.  That lead into the discussion that our target audience needed options beyond just single family homes.  We discussed the viability of apartments of varying sizes and other multi-family housing options.

The more we talked, we began adjusting our target market to starting teachers since representatives from both schools cited that as a problem.  New information for me was the fact that Culver Academies acts as landlord for over 75 residences in the community.  They would like to get out of the landlord business, but feel they have been pushed into it by the current housing economics in Culver.  But the income level for starting teachers is closer to $30,000 and they are often single.  That increases the need for lower costs rental properties.

We discussed various sites available for development and agreed that a large parcel at the edge of town with access to utilities would be preferable.  The only one within the annexed area of town of sufficient size is the 80 acre parcel (under two ownerships) at the southwest side of town, west of South Main Street, south of Davis Street.  This parcel was previously annexed and zoned R-2 as part of the development plans for Culver Garden Court with the hopes that it would spur some affordable housing.  To date the owners have not shown much interest in pursuing this.

Sand Hill Farm

Two other properties adjacent to the town limits were also discussed.  One being the Culver Academies property north of Highways 10 & 17 and between Highway 17 on the east and Tamarack Rd on the west and the other being my property one the west side of town, east of Highway 17, north of Jefferson Street and south of Academy Road.  This is the property I’ve referred to as Sand Hill Farm in previous blog entries.  (Pictured to the right.)  I did my best to give full disclosure to alleviate any concerns about Conflict of Interest, but as the process progresses, the Task Force will have to tell me if they are interested in my parcel and that I need to recuse myself from the discussion.

Lastly we discussed where to go from here.  In anticipation of this meeting I had made contact with an affordable housing analyst and we have set up an appointment to have him visit Culver next month.  We may be contracting with him to perform a needs analysis.  We are also talking to a developer from Indianapolis who works with affordable housing projects.  We’ll see where this leads.  It’s not moving as quickly as I would like, but I’m pleased that we are making progress.



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