April 3, 2023 — Visalia City Council
Documented by Jackie Schuster
Here’s what you need to know
- The Visalia City Council heard the proposed use of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), and the allocation of HOME-ARP funds for program years 2023 and 2022, and amendments to 2021.
- The council also heard the proposed plan to close out the NSP1 grant under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
- During the public comment section of the meeting, a resident near the South Edwards Court neighborhood once again commented about the effects that the nearby businesses are having on the neighborhood.
- Has the city taken recent action to address the concerns residents of the South Edwards Court neighborhood keep bringing to meetings?
Visalia City Council Members
Liz Wynn, District One
Vice Mayor Brett Taylor, District Two
Mayor Brian Poochigan, District Three
Emmanuel Hernandez Soto, District Four
Steve Nelsen, District Five
The Visalia City Council meeting started at 7 p.m. All council members were present.
- Public Comment
- Dorothy Collins, a Visalia resident, said she was commenting to represent her neighbors in the cul-de-sac behind The Habit restaurant and the area that is being developed by a local businessman. In 2019 her neighbors went to the Planning Commission and told them what effect it would have if new businesses were established in that area. Collins said her neighbors’ quality of life has been changed by the developments in that area, and she has a hard time getting out of the neighborhood sometimes.
- She also said that the cinder block fence separating the businesses from the neighborhood is not high enough, so the neon signs show into houses, people can see in their backyards and the business trash cans are often emptied at 6 a.m., waking her neighbors up. Collins said she hopes that the city can talk to the new business owners there to have them put chains around the parking lots after the businesses close so that people cannot get into the parking lot and disturb her neighbors.
- Consent Calendar
- No items were pulled for discussion or comment, so Nelsen motioned to accept all consent calendar items. Taylor seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
- Regular Items and Public Hearings, item 1
- Margie Perez, the city’s housing specialist, presented a review of the proposed use of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), and the allocation of HOME-ARP funds for program years 2023 and 2022, and amendments to 2021.
- The CDBG supports community development by providing better housing and economic opportunities. The department is still in the public comments phase for these plans and will be until April 17.
- Perez shared the 2023 CDBG proposed funding, which would put $250,000 towards administration costs, $127,500 toward public services like the Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance, $250,000 toward affordable housing and $622,500 toward an Americans With Disabilities Act compliance project that was requested by the Disability Advocacy Committee before it was disbanded.
- Proposed projects using 2023 HOME funding are still being developed and will be brought before the council once they are finished. One project in the proposed funding is The Lofts project, in which Self-Help Enterprise is the main partner. Fifteen percent of this funding has to be spent this year.
- The city also has funds from the 2021 HOME-ARP allocation plan, which is eligible to be spent on activities like affordable rental housing, non-congregate shelter units, supportive services and rental assistance.
- The action for this item was to receive comments and questions on the proposed plans.
- Taylor: If Self-Help Enterprises is the partner for projects receiving HOME funding and they don’t have a project idea yet, then what would the city do since 15% of funding needs to be spent this year? Perez clarified that HOME allows a four-year completion rate, so the city could wait to begin the projects until next year. Since Self-Help Enterprise is finishing The Lofts soon and they are the lead on the Northwest Fifths project, Perez said she thinks they will have a project ready for the city once those two wrap up.
- No members of the public had comments.
- Regular Items and Public Hearings, item 2
- The NSP1 grant, which was received in 2008, is closing out. Only foreclosed or abandoned properties and the development of vacant land are eligible for funding with this grant. The proposed amendment for the remaining program income is to provide first-time homebuyer assistance for the five homes, with the assistance of HOME funds as well. Since this would use HOME funding, the homes would have to be sold within nine months of construction or rented to low-income residents with the city as the landlord.
- The action for this item was to hold a public hearing, but there were no questions or comments from the council or the public.
With no closed session to report from, the meeting adjourned at 7:27 p.m. The next city council meeting will be held on Monday, April 17, at 7 p.m.
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