City Council rezones land to make way for Self-Help Enterprises affordable housing project on Farmersville Blvd.
By Crystal Havner
Reporting for the Sun-Gazette
FARMERSVILLE – The City of Farmersville is in desperate need of new, affordable housing and the City Council recently made a change that will help make it happen.
At its Dec. 23 meeting, the Farmersville City Council rezoned a block of land in the city’s central district from general commercial to multi-family residential. The change paves the way for Self-Help Enterprises to build a proposed 108-unit affordable housing complex on 5.5 acres of land on the south side of Walnut Avenue and east of Farmersville Blvd.
“I am happy we quickly approved the new housing complex,” Mayor Greg Gomez said. “Now we will wait to hear if Self-Help will be awarded the housing grant and then we look forward to adding more rooftops in town. I have already had people asking me about when the housing will start taking applications. Housing is sorely needed in our area and I’m glad our City is helping do its part to alleviate the situation.”
Approved by the city’s Planning Commission in early December, the Farmersville Village Project will look similar to other Self-Help projects using craftsman design in Lindsay and Goshen and will be built in two phases. The first phase will build out the northern 2.75 acres and include a 3,000-square foot community building, a children’s playground, nine residential buildings and 80 parking spaces. Phase two will build out the remaining 2.99 acres and will consist of nine additional residential buildings, a basketball court and 85 parking spaces. The project will meet most of the city’s need for affordable housing through 2023.
City planner Karl Schoettler told the Sun-Gazette in November that the development is almost double the size of any existing multi-family complexes in town, is well located to promote walkability—close of Downtown, the high school and community sports complex. The development will be professionally managed, and residents of Farmersville Village will be provided with free bus passes and will have access to 20 shareable vehicles for daily needs.
A 1.4-acre portion fronting on Farmersville Boulevard will remain zoned for commercial development. Self-Help said the project will be financed through the affordable housing and sustainable communities 2020 (AHSC) and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. As part of the AHSC program, the development will be designed to ultimately reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In Other News:
City Manager Jennifer Gomez was authorized to execute a lease agreement with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias for use of the Farmersville Community Center, located at 623 Avery Ave. The lease will replace a 99-year agreement between The Boys and Girls Club and the City of Farmersville Redevelopment Agency that was signed at the end of 2009. The new lease will expire in October 2022 which is when the Community Development Block Grant funding the youth services will also expire. The lease is for $1 per year and includes a 50% reimbursement for utilities from the city and provides the nonprofit with the ability to rent out the facility to the public and local organizations for special events and activities at the 16,380-square foot , two-story facility. The Boys & Girls Club is responsible for janitorial and landscaping services as well as maintenance and repairs.