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Local leaders seek federal help in battle against possible low-income apartment complex

Local lawmakers are taking their fight over a proposed low-income apartment complex to the federal level. This comes after Indianapolis developers want to build a $32 million apartment complex on Lafayette's south side.

Posted: Nov 10, 2017 7:34 AM
Updated: Nov 10, 2017 10:34 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Local lawmakers are taking their fight over a proposed low-income apartment complex to the federal level. This comes after Indianapolis developers want to build a $32 million apartment complex on Lafayette's south side.

The Indianapolis-based developers Herman and Kittle Properties want to put the complex across the road from Romney Meadows, which is subsidized housing. In the same area, there is already section 42 rental properties at Spring Meadows.
"I've made it very clear to those developers that we're not interested," said Mayor Tony Roswarski.
Roswarski is aggressively pushing back against a possible low-income apartment complex coming to, what used to be considered, a hot crime spot.
"We're not interested in 250 units of low-income housing just plopped down in Lafayette without any wraparound case management or services," said Roswarski.
Roswarski said the city has been working hard in the last year to clean up crime in the area.
"It doesn't meet the standards that we think is right for the community," said Roswarski.
The mayor made his opinion clear in a letter to the board of directors for Indiana's Housing Authority.
But the piece of property the developers have their eyes on is already zoned R3, which is zoned for multi-family apartments so it's out of local control.
"Tax credits are very lucrative. The developers and the people who develop those make a lot of that money right up front, millions of dollars," said Roswarski.
Roswarski asked State Representative Sally Siegrist to create legislation that would help stop the developers from moving forward with the project.
"To use that tool I would be opening up the state, our county and our municipality as well as myself to federal lawsuits," said Siegrist.
She said she's contacted Congressman Todd Rokita and Senator Todd Young about her concerns over the proposal. She said she still has yet to hear back.
"The mayor, the city council and the commissioners have all put their input into the approval process. That has done no good. I'm afraid other than going to the federal level we are out of options," said Siegrist.
The Indiana Housing Authority Board of Directors will meet Nov. 13 to decide the fate of the project.

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