Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

City of Highland Park Housing Commission met October 2

By Michael Abella | Nov 8, 2019

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City of Highland Park Housing Commission met Oct. 2.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:

CALL TO ORDER

At 6:31 p.m., Chairman Ross called the regular meeting of the Highland Park Housing Commission, Peers Housing Association, Ravinia Housing Association, Walnut Housing Association, and the Sunset Woods Association to order. Each of the Commissioners also serves as Directors of each of the Housing Associations. Chairman Ross asked Staff to call the roll.

ROLL CALL

Commissioners Present: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun, Bernstein, & Saret

Councilwoman Present: Holleman

Student Rep Present: Rosen

Staff declared that a quorum was present.

Staff Present: Later

Guests Present: Rob Anthony/Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH)

Harold Eich & Mary Mauney/Evergreen Real Estate Services (ERES)

Richard Koenig/Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC)

Audience Present: Michael Laxner/Resident

Also Present: Cerabona

BUSINESS FROM THE PUBLIC

There was none.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular meeting of the Housing Commission – August 7, 2019

Commissioner Adler moved to approve the August 7, 2019, meeting minutes. Commissioner Bernstein seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote:

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Bernstein, & Saret

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Berkun arrived at 6:33 p.m.

SCHEDULED BUSINESS

1. Items for Omnibus Vote Consideration

• Payment of Invoices

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

• Ratification of Payments

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

2. Peers, Walnut, Ravinia, and Sunset Woods Associations

Chairman Ross welcomed Ms. Mauney and Mr. Eich from Evergreen.

Commissioner Arnold arrived at 6:34 p.m.

• Consideration of Management Reports for Peers, Walnut, and Ravinia

o Walnut

Chairman Ross asked about a Service Coordinator grant. Ms. Mauney stated this runs in arrears. She noted funding would be received in December. Expenses are submitted every three months.

o Ravinia

Chairman Ross asked for a replacement reserves request for Ravinia. Mr. Eich stated a $31,146.40 invoice was submitted; will receive it back. This totals $70,000.

• Housing Trust Fund Financials

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

• Sunset Woods’ Financials

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

• Other Association Business

There was no Other Association Business.

NEW BUSINESS

1. CPAH 2019 Operating and Scattered Site Grant Requests

• Tax Credit Update

Chairman Ross welcomed Rob Anthony from CPAH. He asked about the tax donation credit. Mr. Anthony advised that IHDA has approved everything; should be issued this month. Chair Ross asked Mr. Anthony to discuss the grant requests. Mr. Anthony started with the Operating grant request.

Mr. Anthony provided background on operating requests, grant writing, ground-lease management, marketing screening, waitlist management, etc. Senior Planner Later stated there was a delay on CPAH’s request for operating and scattered site grants until after the tax credit funds were deposited in the Housing Trust Fund. She advised Staff discussed with CPAH to make the grant request earlier in the year, going forward.

Chairman Ross asked if the grant would be funded for 2019. Mr. Anthony advised it would be for expenses already incurred. Senior Planner Later referred to the budget material in the packet and reviewed this subject. Chairman Ross referred to Page 37 and highlighted same; he stated there is funding available and it was approved in the 2019 budget by both the HC and the City Council.

Councilwoman Holleman asked what the fund balance for the HTF is. Senior Planner Later stated 150% of core activity expenses. Chairman Ross suggested this amount should be noted on the HTF statement provided by the Finance Department for future reference.

Commissioner Bernstein asked when funds come in. Councilwoman Holleman stated the fee-in-lieu payment comes in bulk at one time. Chairman Ross reminded about the procedure in the ordinance. Councilwoman Holleman stated that was one of the proposed changes in the ordinance.

Commissioner Bernstein spoke highly of $130,000 being raised in one year just in Highland Park. Mr. Anthony concurred, and Commissioner Bernstein congratulated him.

Commissioner Abreu moved to approve the $85,000 operating grant for CPAH. Commissioner Berkun seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun, Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Anthony stated the other request is for three scattered site units. The focus is on home ownership, but a condo unit for $125,000 arose and was already purchased by CPAH; Zillow comps were referenced. The request is for two scattered site ownership units and one 2-bedroom, one-bath rental unit at 420 Park. Mr. Anthony stated it was a good opportunity.

Chairman Ross asked and Mr. Anthony confirmed the request is for $202,500. He asked if there is a time frame. Mr. Anthony stated the rental was acquired and will be leased by the end of the year. The others are not yet identified. Senior Planner Later referred to the grant application in the packet.

Councilwoman Holleman stated we are close to the HTF fund balance. Chairman Ross advised the approval could be contingent on the funds coming into the HTF, including the tax credit reimbursement.

Councilwoman Holleman stated we don’t need the rental – we need the home ownership. She appreciates the low purchase amount but is not sure that’s what Highland Park needs. She said there were many inclusionary rental units recently approved. Discussion took place on offering the condo for sale. Councilwoman Holleman stated renters contribute differently to the community than do homeowners.

Chairman Ross asked if, separately from the condo, the grant request could be changed to three scattered site single-family homes. Commissioner Saret stated the rental would be attractive.

Ms. Bernstein asked about CPAH’s thoughts on rentals. Mr. Anthony reminded the focus is on home ownership. This rental was a good long-term investment and an opportunity that came to them. He noted real estate has cycles. The trend now is for rentals. He shared that renters are long-term and are also vested in the community. He noted that the inclusionary rental units are affordable for a 25-year term whereas CPAH rental units are affordable in perpetuity.

Councilwoman Holleman advised her opinion is based on the two to four-year rental window vs. seven to nine-year homeowner window. She said taxpayers are paying for a portion of these homes.

Commissioner Saret asked where renters go when they leave. Mr. Anthony said some move into home ownership or to another community such as due to a job change.

Commissioner Saret moved to approve the $202,500 grant to CPAH for two scattered sites and one rental unit contingent on reimbursement to the HTF of the tax credit donation from the previous grant. Commissioner Adler seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Abstain: Berkun

Chair Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

BUSINESS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mr. Laxner referred to the Master Plan, housing plan, and accessory dwelling units. Chairman Ross advised a discussion on accessory units has not yet taken place.

Senior Planner Later stated a conceptual talk occurred with other communities led by the Metropolitan Mayors Causus and expounded on the current activities AARP has been involved in on this issue. Mr. Anthony referred to and expounded on the “Granny Flat Academy” being funded by AARP. Senior Planner said density can be a concern. Chair Ross said it could be allowed in certain parts of the City.

Mr. Laxner also referenced the payment-in-lieu. Chairman Ross explained how the HTF is funded. Mr. Anthony departed the meeting at 7:17 p.m.

2. Draft 2020 Budget Review

Housing Opportunity Development Corporation • Sunset Woods

Chairman Ross introduced Richard Koenig, Executive Director of HODC. Mr. Koenig gave a brief overview. Senior Planner Later shared that she included the 2019 budget for reference.

Commissioner Saret asked about rent/revenues. Mr. Koenig stated that units changed due to vouchers and explained same. He advised the HC controls 1/5 of the Condominium Association votes. He stated originally the City bought the land and asked a developer to develop it. Senior Planner Later advised these are income-based units, and 12 units were donated back to the HC after the project was completed.

Commissioner Adler asked and Mr. Koenig replied who their Service Coordinator is. Commissioner Adler said that in his experience as the HC Sunset Woods Condo Board representative that the HC tenants are satisfied with their living environment.

Commissioner Abreu moved to approve the 2020 operating budget for Sunset Woods. Commissioner Bernstein seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

Evergreen Real Estate Services • Peers

Ms. Mauney made two corrections: at Peers, the 12-month mortgage is not listed; surplus cash, and Ravinia audit was revised.

Ms. Mauney stated there is project cash that can be used for the elevator repair, which should be completed by year end. Commissioner Arnold asked about elevator costs, and Mr. Eich responded.

Chairman Ross stated the $72,000 surplus is money the HC could use possibly to fund another Service Coordinator. Ms. Mauney referenced the real estate property tax refunds; good timing.

Commissioner Bernstein moved to approve the Peers 2020 operating budget. Commissioner Saret seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously. • Ravinia

Chairman Ross stated the cash surplus is $75,000; 80% would go to the mortgage restructuring note if not used. Senior Planner Later noted the HUD payment for the Ravinia land sale. Chairman Ross asked that ERES contact HUD regarding this and that this be paid by the end of the year. He would like to use the available funds to improve the buildings.

Chairman Ross asked if maintenance staff is split per property. Ms. Mauney concurred and added that all other staff is as well. Chairman Ross asked if this is the most efficient way. Ms. Mauney stated one person for a half-day is to be placed at Walnut (maintenance staff is on call). Mr. Eich explained same. Chairman Ross asked about the total staff. Ms. Mauney stated there are six staff for 153 units (two maintenance, one janitor, and three office/management).

Mr. Eich advised Ravinia is scheduled for a REAC inspection on October 22, 2019.

Commissioner Saret moved to approve the 2020 Ravinia operating budget. Commissioner Arnold seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

• Walnut

Mr. Eich asked everyone to visit the property as Walnut has fresh interior improvements. They are excited about the recycling program coordinated by the City’s AmeriCorps intern. Senior Planner Later expounded on the program and property management coordination.

Commissioner Arnold asked about the masonry at Walnut. Senior Planner Later stated a Structural Engineer had investigated and said it was not a structural defect but tuck-pointing was necessary. Mr. Eich stated this is scheduled to be repaired as a capital expenditure under tuck pointing on an annual basis.

Commissioner Arnold asked what the plumbing upgrades were. Mr. Eich stated there are older bathtubs, some causing ceiling leaks, which are being changed out. He expounded on the replacement process and ramifications.

Commissioner Adler asked about the higher eviction rate. Mr. Eich stated this is atypical and a challenge. Mr. Mauney stated in 2013 there were three eviction procedures initiated. Ms. Later explained that tenants are not actually evicted but the process has to be initiated in order to develop payment plans, etc., to assist tenants as appropriate. Mr. Eich stated Walnut has the highest delinquent balance (includes legal fees, etc.).

Chairman Ross asked if a physical needs assessment should be done on this property. Ms. Mauney will add same to budget.

Commissioner Adler moved to approve the 2020 operating budget for Walnut along with a physical needs assessment. Commissioner Bernstein seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

Senior Planner Later asked that the budgets be adjusted and resubmitted to her. Ms. Mauney and Mr. Eich concurred and departed the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

3. Management Firm RFP Review Team Appointments

Chairman Ross asked when RFPs are due. Senior Planner Later replied September 13, 2019. Chairman Ross said he would like to establish an RFP review team to include Commissioners Adler & Abreu. Senior Planner Later advised three staff members would also be on the team. She referred to the RFP timeline on-line. They would report status to the HC in October.

OTHER BUSINESS

There was no Other Business.

STAFF REPORT

There was nothing to report.

ADJOURNMENT

Commissioner Saret moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:58 p.m. Commissioner Berkun seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote:

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Abreu, Adler, Arnold, Berkun, Bernstein, & Saret 

Voting Nay: None

Chairman Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

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City of Highland Park Housing Commission