Up to 130 units planned for Housing Authority’s gateway project
The Decatur Housing Authority got the go ahead at the Jan. 21 City Commission meeting to combine two of its properties.
When the project is completed, the 24 units at Oakview Apartments in Oakhurst will become part of the renovated Gateway Manor apartments, located at 421 West Trinity Place. Commissioners approved a development of up to 130 units, at a maximum height of 45 feet. Commissioners changed the zoning at the site from residential to mixed use, because the residential zoning didn’t allow for variances, according to the application.
“We want to minimize relocation,” DHA Executive Director Doug Faust said at the meeting. “The families who live in Oakview would not have to move during the revitalization process.”
Gateway residents would have to relocate to other federally-subsidized housing during construction, and Faust said the plan is expected to take between three and five years to implement.
The new plan also creates a 75-foot stream buffer between DHA property and Peavine Creek. The current buffer is 25 feet.
So what will become of Oakview?
Faust said the DHA hasn’t determined what it will do with the Oakview property once the Gateway is finished.
“As I told the City Council, we have three to five years to work on the strategy for the revitalization of the Oakview community while we are working on Gateway,” Faust said.
As first mentioned over at Decatur Metro, there was some talk about extending Fairview Avenue through the site of the Gateway project. The plan approved on Jan. 21 shows a loop road around the site.
Faust told commissioners that the road extension plan didn’t pan out.
“There was some discussion of that in the 2010 plan. There isn’t any available property on Ponce that enables that to happen,” Faust said.
The Gateway project will replace buildings it describes as “functionally obsolete.” Both the current Gateway and Oakview buildings were constructed in the 1960s. Oakview serves senior citizens, but the three story building is tough for them to navigate, Faust said.
There were a couple of speakers at the commission meeting who objected to the DHA’s plan.
Chad Stogner, who owns property at 511 W. Trinity Place, said he isn’t opposed to helping low income families but also wanted to know why he didn’t get a heads up about the plan. He said DHA shouldn’t be treated differently than any other developer in the city.
“I own property on both sides of this thing and I never got a call,” Stogner said. “I talked to people up and down Ponce. There’s been no communication. I just really think this plan is bad. It looks like an office park.”