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Another Resident Speaks out Against New West End Development
Wednesday, August 21, 2002 12:00:00 AM - Monroe Ohio
Dear Monroe City Officials:

My husband Tim and I reside at Hughes Manor, an historical property located at 5894 Hamilton-Lebanon Road. Our house is on the Ohio historical register and we are seeking national historical status. The reason for this e-mail is to express our deep concern over the proposed Brisben mutiple-family dwellings directly across the street from our house. We do recognize that this area will be developed and have come to grips with that, but question the choice of builder and type of renters we would be encouraging. We have over $500,000 tied up in our property mortgage and improvements and your potential vote to support low-income housing directly across the street will reduce our property value by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Brisben is the largest builder of low income housing in the United States. According to a very reputable local builder, Brisben builds only low-income
housing and relies on state tax credits to finance their projects. I have
serious doubt that the Monroe development would be a departure from their "business as usual." The Tyler Creek project that the Brisben representative was so proud of at council meeting had its ribbon cutting ceremony a month ago. It is a tax credit property, according to their rental agent, and their rents are equivalent to the ones quoted at the public hearing meeting Tuesday evening. A two-bedroom rent is $700 (Brisben quoted the Monroe development at $750 and claimed "section 8" stopped at $650). An acquaintance of mine, who makes eight dollars an hour, 40 hours a week, lives there. His income before taxes is $1280 per month. After taxes his income is approximately $960. Obviously there is some sort of subsidy involved, because no one could live on $260 per month for all bills and miscellaneous expenses after rental costs of $700.

I took the liberty of phoning Tyler‘s Creek to inquire about renting and was told in no uncertain terms that my annual income must be under $26,280 to qualify to live there-I would certainly characterize that as low income housing. Whether "section eight" is applicable (as asked by one of my neighbors at the meeting Tuesday to a negative response) is merely playing a game of semantics. Low-income housing is low-income housing! It will devalue our property and bring a whole host of additional problems for the community as well as the police and other civil servants.

Middletown has toughened up it‘s zoning to prevent exactly this type of project, and is attempting to rid itself of the existing problems. This proposed project could not be built in Middletown!! Why should it be approved for Monroe? Cincinnati is cleaning up Central Avenue, and building new, non- subsidized apartments in place of the low-income housing that
existed there. Is Monroe prepared to have it‘s own "Over the Rhine" move
here? What are the long-term consequences of this type of tenant? Is it worth the quick approval, just to have some development? Why can‘t you require upscale apartment complexes for this development instead of low-income?

I beg the council to reconsider allowing this type of project (and the myriad of problems that it always brings) to go anywhere in Monroe. As a Middletown councilman recently said " If you build tents, tent dwellers will move in." Let us not build tents in Monroe, even if they have a brick and masonry façade. I would appreciate your timely response to these concerns.

Thank you.

Barbara Haller
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