Supervisors Weigh In on Housing Debate

A large group of residents of the northeastern part of Lauderdale County, where several developers have proposed putting apartment complexes, showed up at the county supervisors meeting Friday, asking for whatever help they could get to keep low income housing out of their neighborhood.

"We're not opposed to the projects. We think they're good," said resident Frank Farley. "They're just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The apartment complexes are being proposed in those neighborhoods because of legislation that gives developers tax credits for building housing following Hurricane Katrina.

Supervisors say they know the housing is needed, but say it doesn't need to be in the higher end neighborhoods it's being proposed to be in.

The board plans to send a letter to the Mississippi Home Corporation, the entity that will decide who gets the tax credits, asking them not to allow the developments to be built in those neighborhoods.

"We need to make sure that we do everything for the projects that are proposed in Lauderdale County, are put in the right places," said county supervisor Eddie Harper.

Local residents say they know they may be looked at as wanting to keep low-income people out of their neighborhood, but they say it's just a matter of wanting to keep their property values up.

"It's not an issue that we don't want to live by these type people, so we don't want to talk about the type people," said Farley. "But history will show when you have these kinds of developments, there are issues that follow."

Getting the tax credits is not guaranteed. There is a limited amount of money and developers closer to the coast will get the first shot at the credits. But ultimately, it will be the Mississippi Home Corporation, not any local entity, who will have the final say.


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