Developers push for more affordable housing

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - This week Gulfport's city council will decide whether or not to allow another affordable housing community in ward 6.

The city already has about 25 tax credit properties, but this one would be different. Holliman Place would feature more than 100 single family homes.

But residents of the area say it's 100 homes too many.

"We have met all the requirements for site plan approval," said developer Clarence Chapman. "I would expect that the council honor the letter of the law so that we can proceed forward."

Developers for Holliman Place say they've crossed their t's and dotted their i's and there should be no reason why Gulfport's council would say "no" to what they call an improvement to the city's affordable housing.

"We're taking what has been distasteful, federal housing dollars, because of all that's forced on this area and a lot of people coming in from out of state to building low income housing," Chapman said.

Developer Clarence Chapman said Holliman Place would be built on Purdy Circle. It would consist of 104 single family homes, a community center and a few playgrounds.

"In 15 years, they can buy it at a tremendous bargain - $50,000, no money down, eight percent interest, 15 years, which will leave a note payment lower than their rent had been," Chapman said.

Residents say the offer sounds good, but it's not good for their community.

"Mr. Chapman does build a really nice development, but we are already saturated in our community with tax credit developments, so we need some taxes bases," resident Dorothy Parker said.

Parker said ward six needs more businesses, not more housing. She's also concerned because the community is being built on wetlands.

"Because it is wetlands, it will be a cause of concern for flooding," Parker said.

Residents also worry that the community will only add to traffic concerns on Dedeaux Road. They wonder what will happen in 15 years when the developer has nothing else to do with the community. Ward six residents hope city leaders and council members will consider their concerns before Tuesday's vote.

Holliman Place is the first item on the agenda for Tuesday's Gulfport council meeting. The meeting is at 2:30 in the Harrison County Board of Supervisor's conference room.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.