A Branson developer looking to build affordable housing in the area is asking for the support of the board of aldermen.
Representatives of Branson Affordable Homes Development LLC presented a plan to the Branson Board of Aldermen during a study session Thursday.
“We’re hoping to get a resolution of support from the Branson Board of Aldermen for an affordable workforce development that would be funded with CDBG-DR funds and low income housing tax credits,” said Debra Hart, member with Branson Affordable Housing LLC.
According to Hart, the development is currently planned to be located off Fall Creek Road near Country Bluff Drive. Hart said the tax credits, if obtained, would be able to be used as equity to have lower debt and charge lower rents.
“The tax credits are designed to assist families that make at or below 60% of the area’s median income,” Hart said. “This development would have a component to serve folks who make up to 80% called workforce units.”
“In the city of Branson it’s no secret you have a lot of service-industry folks and all of those jobs would qualify for workforce housing and the 60% AMI housing.”
In March of 2019, RDG Planning & Design presented the results of a study commissioned by Taney County Partnership showed a lack of affordable housing for households making less than $25,000 a year.
“It’s an interesting mix you have here in the county because you have some markets that have serious affordability issues, and we have some other areas that have some undervalued markets, which makes it pretty challenging to create secure investments for individuals,” Amy Haase, principal with RDG Planning & Design said in March. “We also see this growing demand for additional workforce housing and the cost of infrastructure to develop that housing and where it is and isn’t affordable to do that.”
Joel Hornickel, director of planning and development for Branson, said there have been a lot of conversations in the community since the results of the study were made public.
“This is one group we’ve been talking with quite actively over the last several weeks about this project,” Hornickel said. “Excited it’s gotten to this point and hopefully the board will share their support with it as well.
“From this point, we’ll look to work with them on annexation and zoning of the property, and then they’ll be able to begin the building permit process after that.”
City officials expressed their support of the project saying it would fulfill a need in the community.
“This is a huge opportunity,” Mayor Edd Akers said. “This community could benefit.”
Hart said tax credit allocation is a very competitive process, so having community support is vital in getting approved.
“If you don’t have community support and you don’t have support from your elected officials, you’re not going to get a project funded.” Hart said.
According to Hart, the application deadline is in September and Branson Affordable Homes Development LLC will find out if they will be awarded tax credits in November. From there, Hart said it should take around six months to finalize construction documents and close shovel-ready.
“Once that happens the construction process will be 12 to 14 months,” Hart said.
City Clerk Lisa Westfall confirmed the item is set to appear before the board during their regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 23. The Branson Board of Aldermen does not conduct a vote during study sessions.