Northside resident speaks out about proposed housing development

TO THE EDITOR:

Regarding the Aug. 2-3 article “planning commission tables vacate request”,I had read two recent articles of “affordable housing ” plans for the former Washington School site and Olson Lumber in the north end. Because of this notice I chose to attend the commission meeting of Aug. 1, and express my concerns. We purchased a Northside property in 2015, as a Northside  homeowner, I was concerned with the lack of detail provide by the local media for these plans, to date, and the numbers they represent.

As could be expected many of those who attended the Aug. 1 meeting expressed concerns and distaste for the plans for the Olson property. It was extremely interesting that a local realtor spoke up about having detail on “13 similar properties owned by the city of Manistee, that could accommodate a comparable development.” That is something I intend to investigate further. We have watched as many Northside neighbors have put money into renovations to their homes. “Pride of ownership” is evident.

Per usual,the developer spoke of “facts” that show home value improvements rather than a negative numbers, but, I would like to note that those numbers are significantly affected by the market, rather than the “affordable” development entry into the neighborhood. The impact upon families who cope with the “affordable” residents’ issues can have a significant impact upon quality of life of neighbors.

As a student of urban planning, sociology, demographics, a retired realtor, past affordable housing committee person in Massachusetts, Northside homeowner and proponent of “affordable housing,” I would like to know why or if habitat programs have not been considered for our community? They appear to be a program that brings appropriate development on a scale which blends gently into the neighborhood and includes homeowner equity in the properties. Projected local demographics would also support accessible senior housing as well, which should not have to be multi-story buildings.

Right now, the north side needs a comprehensive plan for a mix of residential, retail and other housing. You have individual homeowners and some investors who seem to be working toward upgrading the area, and others with questionable development plans that would contradict what residents would like to see in their future.

You will continue to see and hear from these neighbors.

Susan Meyers

Manistee

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