Council approves affordable housing development

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The Whitefish Housing Authority and Homeword, Inc. are planning to develop an affordable housing apartment complex on Edgewood Place. This preliminary architectural rendering, by Jackola Engineering and Architecture, gives the concept for the project but is not final in shapes, forms, textures and colors.

A 38-unit affordable housing apartment complex on Edgewood Place has gained city approval.

City Council Jan. 7 approved a planned unit development overlay paving the way for the project on Edgewood Place.

Homeword, along with the Whitefish Housing Authority, is planning the project on 2.15 acres. The project calls for three buildings to house the rental units.

Homeword in November was awarded a low income housing tax credit from the state Board of Housing for $6.7 million to develop a rental housing project for residents with an area median income of 60 percent or less. The housing authority is looking at developing an $8 million project with Homeword, a nonprofit out of Missoula that has developed a number of affordable housing project around the state.

Heather McMilan, with Homeword, said most of the funding is already in place for the project and plans are to go out for construction bids this spring and the project should break ground this summer.

Those involved with the project have said the goal is to create a housing complex that would include affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Rent on the housing units is expected to be between $400 and $890.

The area median income for Flathead County for a two-person household is $48,400. The industry standard for housing is that it should not be more than 30 percent of the owner or renter’s annual income to be considered affordable.

The property on Edgewood Place just off Wisconsin Avenue was once a mobile home park, but is now largely vacant except for a few accessory buildings.

The plan calls for one building to be located parallel to Edgewood Place with three units in two-stories. The second building would be two stories with 11 units located on the eastern portion of the property and perpendicular to Edgewood Place. The third building, located on the northwest portion of the property is three-stories with 24 units.

As part of the PUD, Homeword requested three deviations from the city zoning code requirements. A reduction in the total number of parking spaces by 22 brings the total parking spaces to 57 in off-street parking. The three-story building will also be constructed at a height of 43 feet — the height limit under city code is 35 feet. Also, two of the buildings will have reduced setbacks.

Access to the site is proposed to be off Edgewood Place on the south end of the project and Woodland Place on the north end of the project. Sidewalks would connect to Woodland and Edgewood.

Open space areas are located throughout the development and a small playground is planned. In addition, a community room is planned.

The northeast portion of the lot is being reserved for a future phase, but there are not immediate plans for development.

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