Council Member Mark Stoll was absent, and Council Member Lori Klein Quinn voted against.
The project, Tomball Senior Village, is slated at the southwest corner of Medical Complex Drive and Hwy. 249 on 3.6 acres near the Hampton Inn, city information shows.
“Tomball is not against low-income housing; we have eight low-income housing units now,” Quinn said during the meeting. “That area is the main entrance into our medical facilities. It is also the main entrance down to our businesses. ... It’s not anything against what you’re doing. I’m just not sure that’s the right location for Tomball, and I kind of felt like we’ve been rushed into it because we were just notified [in early February].”
Quinn said her concerns for the project stem from a lack of time to consider community input on the proposed project as well as the selected location for the affordable housing community.
“We haven’t had any workshops; we haven’t reached out to any of the people that would be your neighbors to find out,” she said during the presentation. “It’s all rush, rush, rush.”
During his presentation to council members, Russ Michaels, a development consultant for the Texas Inter-Faith Group—the Houston-based nonprofit developing Tomball Senior Village—said the upscale affordable senior living development would serve residents age 55 and older.
“We’re not out-of-state developers. We don’t build apartments or build housing, rent it and then flip it. We actually develop it, design it, own it and move on with you as a community together,” Michaels said. “We’re not here to just build apartments and leave the town. I know, sometimes, that’s a concern.”
The support resolution was previously slated for the city’s Feb. 23 meeting, which was postponed to March 1 amid the winter storm. Michaels said the Inter-Faith Group first worked with the city to understand whether the property would need to be rezoned to accommodate the project before it was brought to council members.
With the city’s support, the application will move forward to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Michaels said, where funding will be requested through the Competitive Housing Tax Credit Program, according to meeting information.
Tomball Senior Village would be funded by the 9%—competitive—housing tax credit program, Michaels said. According to the TDHCA website, “tax credits are awarded to eligible participants to offset a portion of their federal tax liability in exchange for the production or preservation of affordable rental housing.”
“We only get this shot once for Tomball. ... If Tomball would give the support resolution tonight, that will limit this particular senior housing development from going to another city around here, like Huntsville or something close by,” Michaels said. “The reason we chose the location was it’s close to jobs, it’s got zoning, it’s close to amenities [and] scoring the highest right now in this region [for approval].”
Michaels said the $12 million multifamily project is anticipated to include about 59 units among three stories with one- and two-bedroom options as well as parking and a courtyard area for amenities. Services, such as a shuttle to the grocery store, could also be available.
He said the new community would serve senior adults who live on a fixed income as well as a small number of those without income restrictions.
“There can be a percentage that’s set aside for people that are not on fixed incomes, and so that’s a small percentage,” he said. “We like this area a lot, and we think the market calls for anywhere from 50-60 units for seniors in this community. ... So we’re not trying to get people from all over to move here.”
Construction is slated to begin in 2022, Michaels said.