Marin Housing Authority splits from development group


The Marin Housing Authority severed ties with a developer who was working on plans to renovate public housing in Marin City.

Michaels Development Co. is no longer involved in the project, it was revealed at a meeting of the Authority’s Commissioners Council on Tuesday. The parties separated after the authority agreed to pay $ 427,000 for work already completed on a redevelopment plan for Golden Gate Village.

Discussion of authority payments to Michaels was not on Tuesday’s agenda, but it emerged that Royce McLemore, the senior official at the Golden Gate Village Resident Council, raised the issue during the opening time to the public at the start of Tuesday’s meeting. The city council strongly opposed the project.

McLemore said she wanted to know the basis for making the payments and where the money was coming from.

“I see nothing but crass and gross mismanagement of public funds,” she said.

Housing authority executive director Lewis Jordan said the costs were “related to the first phase of pre-development planning for the proposed Golden Gate Village revitalization.”

“The payment represents a reset in planning for Golden Gate Village,” Jordan said. “We are eager to move forward and engage in more discussions with the community. “

McLemore said the payments amounted to more than $ 400,000. Jordan did not provide any details of how much Michaels was paid at the meeting, and none of the commissioners asked for more.

Deputy County Attorney Renee Brewer made available a copy of the settlement, which was signed on September 14, on Wednesday. the project and $ 250,000 for staff time to oversee the effort.

Commissioners ordered the authority to enter into a master planning agreement with Michaels for the creation of a Golden Gate Village rehabilitation plan in February 2020. This agreement was estimated at $ 75,000 for the authority.

According to the settlement, however, the master plan agreement was never signed because “a dispute arose between the Housing Authority and Michaels over commercial terms.”

In late 2020, the Marin Housing Authority was set to submit a $ 387 million redevelopment plan for Golden Gate Village, created with help from Michaels, to the Marin County Community Development Agency for an environmental review.

According to the plan, the 300 apartments would have been rehabilitated and 156 new affordable residences built, including 48 for the elderly. The plan called for the demolition of two low-rise buildings and an administration building. The existing tenants would have been temporarily moved to new apartments while theirs was under construction.

However, progress was halted due to continued opposition from the Residents’ Council.

On Tuesday, Kathleen Foster, a consultant for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, reported on a timeline to decide on a redevelopment plan submitted by the authority this month. The ministry had demanded that the authority submit a document on pain of losing its federal funding.

As part of the timeline that the authority has submitted to HUD, it has undertaken to assess two or more additional options. These include the residents’ council’s rehabilitation plan, which does not provide for any new buildings, and that the project be entrusted to a community land trust.

The schedule calls for an environmental review of a preferred option by the second quarter of 2022, with the review to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023.

“We would all like the environmental review process not to take 18 months,” Foster said, “but I have checked with the HUD office that this is the typical timeline.”

Supervisor Damon Connolly asked Foster if HUD considers converting the property to a community land trust feasible.

Foster said: “Ultimately, that certainly hasn’t been done before, not with a 300-unit development that was originally built as a multi-family dwelling.”

Also on Tuesday, the authority’s board of commissioners – which includes the county’s five supervisors and two public housing representatives – appointed two panel members.

The Residents’ Council and its supporters had pressured supervisors for weeks to replace the two existing tenant commissioners, Homer Hall and Rob Simon, whose terms had expired. Both had served several terms on the board of directors.

Supervisors renamed Hall and replaced Simon with Sarah Canson, one of two women approved by the Residents’ Council.

According to her candidacy, Canson is an independent employment consultant. She has lived in Golden Gate Village for a little over two years.

“One of the things I want to do is be an advocate for tenants,” Canson said in an interview with Commissioners. She said she could facilitate clear communication “across racial and socio-economic lines.”

During his interview, Hall said he has lived in Marin City since 1953. He said his family was one of the first 10 families to live in Golden Gate Village when it opened.

“I want to continue to see low-rental housing in Marin City and across the county,” Hall said.

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