STERLING – A new affordable housing development will benefit Sterling and may drive other landlords to improve their properties, Mayor Skip Lee said Tuesday.
Construction started the first week of January on a low- to moderate-income housing complex known as Country Lane Apartments. It is being built on 7 acres on West 11th Street, between Avenue L and Woodburn Avenue.
The complex will consist of 24 duplexes with one-, two- and three-bedroom units, a community building, a gazebo, and a playground.
Last fall, the City Council voted 5-1 for the $9.3 million project. During hearings, some residents opposed the building of a complex for low- to moderate-income people. One woman presented information that she said proved Sterling had enough affordable housing.
In voting no, Alderman Barry Cox questioned the need for such a complex.
At a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Lee praised the developer, Charleston, Ill.-based Yost Management Co., which has built such complexes around the state.
“They maintain their properties,” the mayor said. “That was one of my biggest concerns.”
In an interview after the ceremony, Lee said it wasn’t the council’s concern to decide whether demand exists for a particular kind of business. For instance, he said, if a pizza parlor wanted to set up shop, the city shouldn’t concern itself with whether the community needs another pizza parlor.
“That’s up to the free market to say,” Lee said. “Is it up to us to say that we don’t need another pizza parlor? Is it up to us to say, ‘Don’t spend your $9 million here’?”
The mayor said residents shouldn’t fear the housing project, but existing landlords may well worry because the competition may force them to upgrade their properties.
“Yost Management does thorough background checks. They carefully screen who gets in,” Lee said.
According to a Yost brochure, an application for housing can only be processed if a family of four makes less than $34,570 a year. In such a case, the family could get a three-bedroom home for $331 to $550 a month.
The project involves federal low-income housing tax credits.
The developers expect to have eight duplexes ready during the first half of September and the rest of the project finished by November, depending on weather.
“We will do right by the people of Sterling,” Yost Management President Don Yost said. “We will take care of our property and be good citizens.”
The company also promised an on-site manager.
Yost Management also runs the Heritage Woods assisted living facility in Sterling.
Lee said the new complex is further proof that the west end of Sterling is worthy of investment.
“There is a stigma about the West End – that it’s not good enough,” the mayor said. “As a proud west-ender, I’m offended by that.”
About the apartments
Here are the details about Country Lane Apartments:
One-bedroom: $217-$320 a month
Two-bedroom: $266-$410 a month
Three-bedroom: $331-$550 a month
One person: Less than $24,240 a year
Two people: Less than $27,660 a year
Three people: Less than $31,140 a year
Four people: Less than $34,560 a year
Five people: Less than $37,380 a year
Applications can be processed only if your annual income is less than the amounts for family sizes.
One bedroom: 670 square feet
Two-bedroom: 805 square feet
Three bedroom: 1,088 square feet
The complex will pay for trash service. Tenants pay for electric, gas, cable, telephone and water.