Several things about the council vote to give Vintage Partners a $1.6 million waiver of engineering fees for 100 affordable units are disappointing. First, the income limit for affordable housing in Timber Sky has been increased to 125 percent of the area median income or $78,500 for a family of four! Second, we still don’t know how this figure was arrived at. Vintage Partners has repeatedly stated in public meetings that it’s a different kind of developer – one that is really working FOR the community and isn’t interested in incentives. But Vintage plays hardball like all of the other developers. It shouldn’t pretend otherwise.
What’s particularly troubling is that this giveaway doesn’t conform to the city incentive policy for affordable housing. Council has opened the door to allow developers to go directly to the council to get whatever they want rather than working through the established process. If council’s policy for affordable housing isn’t working, then council should change the policy. If council wants to go back to having the taxpayers subsidize private development through recovering less than 100 percent for fees, then do it. But it shouldn’t treat developers differently depending on how much political pressure they exert on council. I recognize that council is concerned and wants to do something about the shortage of affordable housing, but it’s disappointing to see them going against their own policy and give special treatment to developers who go around staff. This council has opened the door to favoritism and corruption.