After a lengthy battle over the location of Houston Housing Authority’s (HHA) planned affordable housing project just outside of Tanglewood, Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced he will not bring the plan before council.

Before obtaining federal funding for the project through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, HHA needed city council to pass a Resolution of No Objection. But after reviewing the unreasonably expensive price tag, the poor location choice, and lack of coordination between the area’s local, state and federal representation, Turner has decided against the project.

In a statement released late Monday afternoon, Turner said:

“After careful review of the costs and other concerns, I am asking HHA to look for an alternative location for this project…I look forward to working with HHA to accomplish the important mission of providing fair housing and quality affordable homes.”

Considering area residents showed up by the hundreds to a town hall to oppose the project, this is unquestionably a good decision by Turner.

District G Council Member Greg Travis, HISD Trustee Harvin Moore, and the Stop Fountain View coalition have been the major voices in getting the district’s concerns heard by the mayor.

HHA’s plan was to renovate their current headquarters at 2640 Fountain View and construct a 233-unit complex. The affordable housing build cost ranged between $240,000 and $270,000 per unit and HHA was going to receive $6 million for a developer’s fee.

After relentless public rejection, questions arose regarding the true intentions of the building. Further, the school that the housing complex was to be zoned in – Briargrove Elementary School – was expected to be at capacity and unable to service the additional students moving into the Fountain View project.

Although Turner is urging HHA to find a new location, he says it still should be within District G because of its high opportunity area status. HHA can still move forward with the planned project, but would have to do so without the federal funding. Houston is undoubtedly in need of affordable housing, but the mayor and residents agree that 2640 Fountain View is not the location for that.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.