Aaronville citizens concerned about “displacements, raised rent”

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 11/11/19

FOLEY - Aaronville citizens recently attended Foley council meetings in both Oct. and Nov. after the Planning Commission recommended moving forward with a rezoning in the community. The applicant for …

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Aaronville citizens concerned about “displacements, raised rent”

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FOLEY - Aaronville citizens recently attended Foley council meetings in both Oct. and Nov. after the Planning Commission recommended moving forward with a rezoning in the community. The applicant for the rezoning request is the Housing Authority, and the request is to change the current zoning of R1 and R3 to PUD. The citizens are concerned as the rezoning plan includes remodeling the homes in the area, even those that are occupied. They argue that this could potentially leave people displaced or unable to move back into their homes if the Housing Authority raises prices after homes are updated.

“The original thing we were told is that the Housing Authority will not do anything until a family moves out, then they won’t rent that property again,” said councilmember Ralph Hellmich. “They will continue to do this until they create enough space so they can do the rebuilding project in phases. They’re not planning to move everybody out and build everything new at once, they’re going to do it a little at a time. That way when the first phase gets done they can move people from phase two houses into the new houses and begin the next phase, and the same with the third phase.” He states to his understanding no price increases will be made on the properties, and families will move into the remodeled homes paying exactly what they’re currently paying.

Council President Wayne Trawick still had concerns, stating in order to create phase one people will still need to move out of their current home into another location so the rebuilding can be completed. “Common sense tells me that they’re going to have to move people around within the project so they can tear down the homes in phase one, so that is going to cause some inconvenience,” he said.

Hellmich agreed, stating even with the plans to rebuild sections after families move there will still be a need to move households to temporary lodgings. He finds it hard to believe that an entire section will move out at once, marking a need to move families.

“We were told the Housing Authority will have a moving specialist from the federal government to assist families in moving into an apartment while the new homes are built,” he said. “I assume they’ll help families move financially because they’re not just going to be kicking people out.”

The rebuilding process will take several years to complete. The Housing Authority has currently requested the rezoning so they can apply for a grant by the end of December. If the grant is awarded they will begin planning the phases in further detail.

The council has requested to view the renderings of the phases once they are completed by an architect. They hope to have them by the Dec. 2 council, when a Public Hearing will be held for the rezoning. If it passes, the rezoning will be legal around mid-December. For more on the City of Foley, visit their website at https://cityoffoley.org.