The results of a monthslong study of Plano’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program were presented to Plano City Council during a preliminary open meeting session.

Compton Creative Solutions owner Sean Compton, a former urban planner, recommended several changes to the city’s program, if the decision is made to bring back the program, during the Oct. 9 meeting. According to a council memo, a decision for 2024 needs to be made by Nov. 28.

The gist

The tax credit program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs allows developers to provide affordable rental housing in exchange for an offset of federal liability tax.

Compton said he recommended implementing a policy governing the city’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program that spans the entire public approval process, including necessary zoning cases and resolutions of support or no objection on a low-income housing project.

Additional changes include:
  • Letting the Plano Neighborhood Services Department administer the program instead of the Community Relations Commission
  • Eliminating a requirement for a letter of community support
  • Allowing development agreements between the city and prospective developers
  • Focusing on experienced developers with a good track record of previous housing tax credit projects
Compton said the state and federal applications both require a community engagement section, which would cover the eliminated letter of community support requirement stipulated by the city.

He recommended the city prioritize experienced builders that are more favored in the state and federal housing tax credit applications.

“I wanted to have an information exchange with a local developer, and that has not occurred,” Compton said.

The background

The city shut down its Low Income Housing Tax Credit in November 2022, citing flaws in the application process. At the time, the city had 14 projects completed through the program, nine of which were senior living facilities.

During the shutdown, Compton said he performed a study from May through September to compile a set of recommendations to guide the relaunch of the program. During the study, he interviewed housing tax credit developers, reviewed the city’s 2022 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application and compared the city’s processes to five other North Texas cities.

What’s next?

Council directed staff to look into potential policy changes with a view toward meeting the November deadline to offer the program for 2024.