Housing officials answer scattered site questions

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					Response  to  Questions  from  Sand  Castle  Condominiums  Phase  VI  HOA  
  
Topic  1:  Property  Values  
Discussion:  Unfortunately  this  is  typically  the  first  thought  response  when  public  housing  is  
proposed  as  an  addition  to  an  existing  community.  Galveston  property  values  in  general  and  
Sand  Castle  VI  Condos  specifically  are  already  severely  depressed.  As  owners  we  harbor  a  fear  
that  public  housing  directly  adjacent  to  our  properties  will  result  in  further  degradation  of  our  
remaining  values.  It  is  a  well  known  fact  that  in  general,  people  who  rent  (versus  owning  and  
inhabiting  their  property)  have  no  vested  interest  in  maintaining  the  property  because  it  is  not  
their  own.    Our  fears  also  stem  from  concern  about  the  potential  for  increase  in  crime  in  our  
immediate  neighborhood.    This  concern  is  based  on  published  statistics  regarding  the  
disproportionate  number  of  times  police  were  called  out  to  address  problems  in  public  housing  
communities  when  compared  to  problems  in  other  parts  of  town.      
Question:  What  assurance  (specific  to  this  site)  can  the  GHA  provide  the  Sand  Castle  VI  Condo  
owners  that  existing  neighborhood  values  will  be  maintained  or  improve  as  a  result  of  the  
project?  
         Vacant  lots  and  dilapidated  properties  can  have  negative  effects  on  the  surrounding  
         properties  due  to  neglect  and  the  potential  for  crime.    Developing  the  vacant  lots  or  
         rehabilitating  existing  structures  will  remove  this  blight  and  help  improve  the  character  
         of  the  neighborhood.    Additionally,  numerous  studies  have  shown  that  it  is  not  the  
         building  of  public  or  affordable  housing  that  diminishes  property  value  but  the  condition  
         and  maintenance  of  the  property.  
           
         GHA  currently  owns,  operates,  and  manages  34  scattered  sites  within  a  variety  of  
         Galveston  neighborhoods.    Photos  of  these  sites  showing  the  condition  of  our  properties  
         are  available  at  http://www.ghatx.org/operations/scattered_sites.html.  
Topic  2:  Property  Management  
Discussion:  The  issue  of  property  management  is  also  related  to  the  Sand  Castle  VI  owners  as  
explained  in  Topic  1,  property  values.  We  presently  do  not  know  or  understand  how  
management  of  public  housing  works.  We  hope  that  any  new  housing  and  related  peripheries  

configurations  are  planned  for  the  eight  (8)  lots  on  the  property  beyond  those  described  in  the  
                                                                                 at  sort  of  population  

exercised  on  initial  and  future  project  population  of  people,  pets  or  vehicles.  
Questions:  
   A)        What  specific  building  configurations  are  proposed  for  the  eight  83rd  Street  lots?  
         The  type  of  building  configurations  that  are  being  proposed  are  3-­‐BDR/4-­‐BDR  2  bath  
         single  family  dwellings.      
      
      
      
      
      
      
     B)          What  is  the  general  ongoing  property  (maintenance)  management  program  proposed  
                 for  this  site?  How  will  the  program  be  implemented  and  enforced?  
          The  sites  will  be  managed  by  the  Galveston  Housing  Authority.  However,  the  GHA  Board  
          may  consider  utilizing  a  private  management  company  as  more  scattered  site  housing  is  
          developed.    GHA  takes  great  pride  in  the  management  and  maintenance  of  its  existing  
          scattered  site  units  and  these  units  will  be  maintained  and  managed  with  the  same  
          standard  and  will  be  subject  to  HUD  public  housing  regulations  .  
       
     C)        How  is  residency  monitored  to  ensure  that  those  who  initially  qualified  to  live  at  the  
               site  are  in  fact  the  only  individuals  living  there?  
          GHA  maintenance  and  management  staff  frequently  inspect  the  units  to  ensure  that  the  
          grounds  are  maintained  in  good  order  and  that  good  housekeeping  standards  are  in  
          effect.    As  a  result,  GHA  staff  are  also  able  to  monitor  who  is  living  at  the  site.    In  
          addition,  GHA  conducts  a  formal  annual  unit  inspection  and  a  household  recertification  
          to  ensure  that  the  correct  family  members  are  on  the  lease  and  living  in  the  unit.  
       
     D)        What  are  the  specific  numbers  of  individuals  that  may  inhabit  specific  types  of  housing  
               units?  
          Bedroom Size              Persons in Household: (Min)               Persons in Household (Max)

          3 Bedrooms                                       3                                 6
          4 Bedrooms                                       4                                 8

     E)          How  will  pets  and  vehicles  within  the  site  be  limited  and  controlled?  
          The  following  are  the  types  of  pets  that  tenants  are  allowed  to  have  on  the  premises.  
          Tenants  are  permitted  to  have  no  more  than  one  type  of  pet.    
          1.  Dogs:  maximum  number  of  1,  maximum  adult  weight:  15  pounds,  must  be  housebroken,  
          must  be  spayed  or  neutered,  must  have  all  required  inoculations,  must  be  licensed  as  specified  
          now  or  in  the  future  by  State  law  and  local  ordinance.  
          2.  Cats:  maximum  number  of  1,  must  be  declawed,  must  be  spayed  or  neutered,  must  have  all  
          required  inoculations,  must  be  trained  to  use  a  litter  box  or  other  waste  receptacle,  must  be  
          licensed  as  specified  now  or  in  the  future  by  State  law  or  local  ordinance.  
          3.  Birds:  maximum  number  of  1,  must  be  enclosed  in  a  cage  at  all  times.  

          4.  Fish:  maximum  aquarium  size:  20  gallons,  must  be  maintained  on  an  approved  stand.  

          5.  Other,  (Rabbit  ,  Guinea  Pig,  Hamster,  Gerbil,  Turtle):  maximum  number  of  1,  must  be  
          enclosed  in  an  acceptable  cage  at  all  times,  must  have  any  or  all  inoculations  as  specified  now  or  
          in  the  future  by  State  law  or  local  ordinance.  

          Currently,  of  the  34  units  of  scattered  sites  housing,  four  residents  own  pets.  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Topic  3:  Elevation  
The  nominal  elevation  of  our  83rd  Street  garage  floors  is  8  feet  above  sea  level,  significantly  
below  the  designated  base  flood  elevation  of  11  feet  for  Galveston.  We  experienced  about  3  ½  
feet  of  flood  water  in  the  three  northern  most  buildings  during  Ike.  We  believe  the  proposed  
GHA  project  is  located  in  flood  zone  AE.  It  appears  to  be  equal  or  lower  in  elevation  than  our  
83rd  Street  garage  floors.  The  site  the  GHA  is  considering  purchasing  presently  serves  as  run-­‐off  
relief  and  an  excessive  water  retention  area  for  storm  events  occurring  in  our  area.  We  have  
concerns  regarding  the  methods  the  GHA  may  use  for  flood  mitigation,  not  only  for  this  
proposed  taxpayer  funded  project  but  for  neighbors  of  the  proposed  project.  If  the  site  is  to  be  
built  up  to  the  base  flood  elevation  with  dirt  and/or  concrete  fill  prior  to  building  construction  
the  process  will  create  a  threat  of  excessive  run-­‐off  affecting  (flooding)  neighbors.  If  the  land  is  
not  built  up  and  only  pilings  are  used  for  building  elevation  we  can  attest  from  personal  
experience  that  there  is  most  definitely  a  threat  to  personal  property  located  within  the  lower  
(grade)  level  of  the  site.    
Questions:    
   A)        What  specific  methods  will  be  used  for  flood  mitigation  on  the  eight  lot  project?    
             What  specific  elevations  above  sea  level  will  be  applied  to  the  mitigation  process?    
         At  this  time  the  housing  authority  does  not  have  engineered  site  plans  for  this  site.  The  
         design  of  each  site  will  be  developed  to  mitigate  flood  hazards  on-­‐  and  off-­‐site  as  this  is  
         required  by  HUD  and  the  City  of  Galveston.  Final  review  and  approval  of  the  engineered  
         plans  will  be  handled  by  the  City  of  Galveston  during  the  permitting  process.    
Topic  4:  Existing  Available  Housing  

There  are  possibly  enough  houses  and  in  some  cases  multiple  residence  units  available  for  sale  
to  fill  the  perceived  need  of  the  GHA  that  could  be  purchased  at  current  pricing  typically  lower  
than  replacement  cost.  Many  could  be  inhabited  immediately.  Others  may  require  some  rehab  
but  most  likely  at  a  cost  lower  than  new  construction.    
Questions:    
   A)        What  diligent  efforts  has  the  GHA  implemented  to  identify  and  survey  all  properties  
             presently  for  sale  on  the  island  that  fall  within  the  cost  ranges  proposed  for  these  new  
             structures?  
        What  results  (hard  data)  has  lead  the  GHA  to  conclude  that  building  such  a  large  
             quantity  of  new  housing  units  in  lieu  of  utilizing  readily  available  resources?  
     
      The  housing  authority,  through  a  third  party  realtor,  has  been  and  will  continue  to  
             search  for  vacant  lots,  properties  that  can  be  rehabilitated,  or  units  that  can  be  
             demolished  for  new  construction                                                  .    As  an  affordable  
             housing  agency  subject  to  HUD  regulations,  GHA  must  follow  24  CFR  941.202,  Site  and  
             Neighborhood  Standards,  when  identifying  potential  sites  for  acquisition.  In  addition,  
             the  GHA  Board  of  Commissioners  has  approved  a  Site  Selection  Criteria  which  
             established  the  guidelines  that  the  housing  authority  is  using  to  identify  sites.    
  
Attachments  
  
GHA  Scattered  Sites  Selection  Criteria  

				
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