16 thoughts on “Highland Park Development Highlights Promise, Pitfalls of Affordable Housing

  1. Everything that Michael Carreon says in this article is ugly, discriminatory, and untrue. There are ways to argue against this development without describing all low-income San Antonians as criminals who live in squalor or welfare queens expecting to live on the government dole.

    This isn’t about political correctness. It’s about fairness.

    • I could not agree more. It seems NRP is going out of its way to work with the neighborhood when they don’t have to.

      Additionally, NRP and other developers have built similar properties (mixed income) north of 1604 near Stone Oak.

      This project is zoned, small, two story, mixed income, and offers amenities to a district that according to the studies “needs to preserve affordability”. My friends live in Highland Park/Hills and support.

  2. I’m curious about the term, “over-development.” Sounds vague, like something literally everyone would define in their own way. Can anyone specify exactly where the line is between development and over-development? Or is it just a “you know it when you see it” kind of thing, which is way too arbitrary to be taken seriously.

  3. This project and all the affordable projects being proposed around our city have one big flaw that no-one is talking about. These projects are 100% tax exempt, meaning they never contribute to our city, county and schools. They pay zero in school taxes while bringing in many families with school-age children. As a resident, I want to insure the schools are adequately financed to provide for the current and new students. It’s great to offer affordable housing, but we need to insure the developers and property managers come us with a way to financially contribute to our neighborhood schools.

    • Awesome! You’re clearly referring to section 11.1825 of the Texas Tax Code.

      I think a UTDallas study has exactly what you’re looking for. It’s data dense (even for me, and I LOVE data!) so I cut to the chase:

      “The [Low Income Housing Tax Credit] LIHTC program has been designed to produce quality workforce housing. However, the addition of multifamily units to the existing housing stock can influence the receiving neighborhoods in various ways. The perceived impact on the academic performance of local public schools remains a main barrier for developing these projects. Higher-income neighbors are worried about inflow of lower-performing students that might exert negative peer influence on their kids or compete for limited resources. There are also concerns that adding more low-income students to existing struggling schools may exacerbate the situation. In this study, we combine longitudinal school performance data with LIHTC project administrative data in Texas and investigate the relationship between the development of LIHTC projects and local school outcomes. We use a first-differenced ordered probit model to look at how LIHTC projects affect local public elementary school accountability ratings and a first-differenced linear regression model to examine how LIHTC projects affect the passing rates of the state standardized tests.

      We find little evidence for overall adverse effects from LIHTC units on neighborhood schools.”

      Got that? The TEA-provided longitudinal school performance data analyzed in an ordered probit model and the linear-regression model seem to indicate it’s all good – but there are a lot of variables, and I did just cut to the summary.

      You’re free to read the full 39 page report if you like. You may want to get a cup of coffee, first, though.

      • No, I’m referring to the fact the developer and property management company never pay property taxes, which include city, county and school taxes. I’m not commenting on student performance. I’m talking about money.

    • This project is not tax exempt. I have asked the developer and checked on their other similar developments. They pay taxes.

      If they pay taxes, do you still have an objection?

      • This project is 100% tax exempt. Please visit NRP Group’s website and look up the addresses of every affordable housing project in SA. Then pull up those addresses on Bexar County Appraisal District’s website and you’ll see they do not pay taxes on any of them. They have 100% exemption on every affordable housing project in our city.

        • Some are. Some are not. This one isn’t.

          Emerald Village is not, for example. It’s mixed income and pays taxes.

          Junipers Edge and the upcoming Rio Lofts. Same story

  4. It sounds like Henry and Andy have a stake in NRP Developments… Do you live in the Highland Park Community? Councilwoman Viagram, do you live in the community? I wonder what developments are in your neighborhood? I thought our councilwoman is supposed to back up the community or at least stand for what we want as a united community. Not some Cleveland based developer. Is it the silver lining that you seek?

    • I’m curious what about my statement makes you think that I have a stake in NRP Developments. For the record, I do not. I am simply a resident concerned with the fair treatment of all citizens. I don’t support housing discrimination, nor do I support classism. Just because someone holds a job where they make less than the median income in San Antonio does not mean they are an irredeemably bad person or they do not deserve access to affordable housing in a nice neighborhood where they otherwise could not afford to live.

      PS No, I don’t live in Highland Park. But I do live in San Antonio and I work with populations who would be the exact people that would benefit from this sort of development and I hate to see them unfairly maligned in the way that Mr. Carreon did in this article.

      • Thank you, Andy, for speaking out. I 100% agree.
        The discriminatory and exclusionary language used by highland park residents is simply alarming and should be completely ignored by council and decision makers. Shame on them.

  5. “The property’s base zoning allows for 33 units per acre – more than the planned two-story, 58-unit building.”

    For the City to kill a mixed income or affordable project, where the entitlements exist for a market rate project of the same or larger size, would be outright, blatant discrimination. Another developer could come in tomorrow and build apartments without ever asking neighbors’ opinions or offering to hold a “charette.”

    Tax credit developments exist all around the city, but you probably wouldn’t recognize them as “mixed-income” because they look high-end. The misinformed opinions of the residents quoted should not be allowed to derail construction of much-needed affordably-priced housing.

    • This project doesn’t add to our tax base. Sorry Kara, you can’t just build it and hope the neighborhood can cover the cost for the additional services/students/etc. Our property tax is used for: SAISD, Univ Hosp, Bexar Co Roads and Flood, SA River Authority and Alamo Community College. Why does this for-profit company get to use 2/3 federal/state funds, 1/3 of their own money, building extremely high cost rentals at $177k per apartment, then they manage the project, receiving more gov’t money for providing this affordable housing, then on top of it, they don’t ever pay property taxes. The big winner here is NRP and their stakeholders. The big losers are the neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, roads, River Authority and Alamo Community Colleges. If this project is built, I hope the developer pays their share of taxes. Our community can’t cover this for them.

      • The winners are the people who get a place to live which they can afford, and the community that gains new neighbors who contribute to the neighborhood and workforce. Sorry, the gates to our community didn’t close after you and I arrived.

        • The winners are the developers and their profit hungry shareholders. If you think they’re motivated because they really care about poor people, please try to process reality. Businessmen will never help poor people unless they’re profiting more than they can with market rate projects. The 58 families will live in workforce housing, which means they’re cheaply built. The developer will only contribute 50% of their tax share towards our neighborhood schools. The other 50% will be missing from the school budget and they’ll just have to make due. Yes, our neighborhood will have to make due with less funds and more people. Our schools will suffer. How long? This project will only pay 50% of their tax share FOREVER. This project is best for NRP. That’s the big winner here.

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