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June 5, 2014

Residents’ concerns about HUD-financed Windsor complex persist

NORMAN — Apartments under construction on 36th Avenue Northwest and Tecumseh Road are not low-income housing. On the contrary, the apartments are market value aimed at young professionals.

The Windsor multi-family project drew strong protest at city hall in November 2012 when zoning was approved by the Norman City Council.

Now, concerned residents in nearby neighborhoods have been raising an alarm because of fears that the upscale apartment complex under construction is really low-income housing. Those fears are based on a sign identifying the apartment complex under construction as a HUD-financed project.

“Construction started a few weeks ago,” reads an anonymous letter sent to The Transcript. “Not high end. HUD apartments ... city council was lied to ... “

HUD is often most well known for assistance to families needing low-income housing, but HUD’s programs are many and varied. HUD loans include multi-family housing projects that, like FHA loans for homeowners, are low-interest loans available to anyone.

“The project is not subsidized by HUD, is not government subsidized low-income housing, is not a Section 8 housing project,” said attorney Sean Rieger, who represented the applicant during the zoning request.

“The project has a loan, which FHA insures for which the developer pays a fee,” Rieger said. “The FHA requires that it be built at a high quality.”

According to information available on the HUD website under information on multi-family housing projects, “All families are eligible to occupy dwellings in a structure whose mortgage is insured under this program, subject to normal tenant selection. There are no income limits.”

Norman Revitalization Manager Linda Price confirmed that the project is not subsidized or low-income housing. Any such project would have to come through her office.

“The FHA does not place income limitations on the tenants,” Rieger said. “The amenities and design will include features such as attached and detached garages, nine-foot ceilings, crown molding, French patio doors, a clubhouse, fitness center and numerous high-end finish details throughout.”

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