By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Noble Planning Commission met Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of constructing an independent living community for seniors.
The community would be south of Maguire Road off Highway 77.
After the public hearing, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the project to the Noble City Council.
Bob Wade, Noble city manager, said developers have found a piece of property suitable for abou 36 units and 18 duplexes. Wade said the project would be funded in part by federal disaster funds awarded because of last summer’s wildfires which destroyed a number of homes.
Wade said developers must apply for federal funds for the project and that “they are hopeful” for the outcome.
Duplex prices at the facility are gaged toward and intended for seniors on Social Security, Wade said.
Terry Carty with the Carland Group says he and his company develop affordable independent living housing facilities for seniors. Carty says his group has built similar facilities to the one proposed for Noble in Newcastle, Harrah, Guthrie, Midwest City and Shawnee.
He described the senior community as duplexes with garages and a community center complete with an exercise room. The duplexes come in one- or two-bedroom models. They are brick with central air conditioning, furnished with washers and dryers, garbage disposals, dishwashers and icemakers.
The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency receives and allocates federal funds to developers who apply for them. According to the OHFA website, the agency “provides funding sources for all types of affordable housing across the state.”
Carty explained that contractors work with the OHFA to obtain federal funds in the form of tax credits, which are sold and used as funds for equity.
In turn this allows contractors to build houses with lower investment so they can be rented at affordable, below-market rates. Carty said he and his group have been trying to put together a project like this in Cleveland County for some time, and in order to be eligible for federal funds, communities must “score well enough under certain criteria.” Being declared a federal disaster area due to last year’s wildfires helped Noble acquire enough points for consideration in the program.
Carty said his group enjoys building affordable housing projects.
“We love it,” Carty said. “We’ve got a total of nine of these projects and we’re also building assessed living and memory care facilities. We have a passion for seniors.” He went on to describe what some residents of other facilities have said. “We have a lot of residents in our other communities that tell us that this is the first time they’ve ever had an ice maker or central heat and air. It’s a really good product for us. It’s an asset to the community.”
Carty says the Carland Group provides services such as flu vaccines and activities such as cooking classes at the facilities.
The Carland Group will submit its application for funds on Jan. 10 and Carty says they won’t find out if it has been awarded until May. He says if he and his group are successful, they would break ground in May and the community would be ready for occupancy within 6 to 9 months. The community will be for seniors aged 62 or older and rent will be determined by income.
As for working with Noble on this project, Carty said, “We have never experienced a town where the officials have been so involved.”
The Noble City Council is set to discuss the matter at a meeting slated for Jan. 7. For more information about OHFA, visit http://www.ohfa.org.
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