Affordable workforce apartments receive zoning approval by McKinney City Council

McKinney Flats aims to provide affordable housing to construction workers, teachers and other qualifying residents. (Courtesy Fotolia)
McKinney Flats aims to provide affordable housing to construction workers, teachers and other qualifying residents. (Courtesy Fotolia)

McKinney Flats aims to provide affordable housing to construction workers, teachers and other qualifying residents. (Courtesy Fotolia)

McKinney City Council approved a rezoning request for a workforce housing complex near the southeast corner of Collin McKinney Parkway and Craig Drive.

The rezone was approved with a 4-3 vote during a Dec. 3 meeting.

The complex, called McKinney Flats, will feature a 206-unit apartment complex in a series of three-story buildings, according to the project developer NRP Group. The development will offer apartments to qualifying residents at a rent below the market rate.

Qualifying residents are workers earning 50%-80% of the McKinney area median income. The area median income for McKinney was more than $83,000 this year, according to Janay Tieken, McKinney Housing & Community Development manager.

“I am not talking about folks that are on disability checks or fixed incomes or Social Security,” Tieken said during the Dec. 3 City Council work session. “It’s folks that are working and are earning pretty good money, but they can’t afford the market rate.”

These people include construction workers, teachers, salespersons and government employees, among others, Tieken said. Several city of McKinney employees qualify, she added.

The city selected NRP Group to plan and develop this affordable housing complex in partnership with the McKinney Housing Finance Corp.

NRP Group representative Bob Roeder said the location is the best option for McKinney Flats. However, the council was divided on a decision to approve the request based on its location.

The 12-acre tract of land backs up to the residential neighborhood Village Creek of Eldorado.

Several nearby homeowners attended the Dec. 3 meeting to voice concerns about the future complex and how it could affect their properties. Their concerns ranged from the potential increase in traffic to a lack of privacy and diminished home values due to nearby apartments.

The city also received at least 120 letters of opposition, according to city staff.

City council member Rainey Rogers said that during his four-year tenure as a council member, he has never seen so many homeowners in opposition of a neighboring development.

“I think this project needs to move elsewhere,” Rogers said. “I blame city staff that they could not see this is not where to put it.”

Rogers in addition to council members Frederick Frazier and Charlie Phillips voted against the request, sympathizing with the homeowners’ concerns.

Mayor George Fuller and Council Members La’Shadion Shemwell, Scott Elliott and Rick Franklin voted in favor of the rezoning, saying the need for affordable housing in McKinney is more prevalent.

McKinney business owners continuously express a need for workforce housing, said Lisa Hermes, president of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, during the council meeting.

"The one thing that comes up [in every industry] is affordable housing and the lack thereof,” she said.

In addition, Fuller said the city’s biggest detractor for new developments and businesses is the lack of workforce housing. This affordable housing development is expected to provide living options to labor force workers.

The developer will be returning to council Dec. 17 to request a resolution of “no objection” before moving forward on the project.
By Emily Davis

Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


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