Letter to the Editor: Shame on the Centralia Council for Housing Decision

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I read the story on permanent supportive housing in The Chronicle April 27. To say the least, I am astounded by the lack of cooperation Reliable Enterprises is getting from our city mayor and council. One of the biggest problems we have here is a lack of affordable housing. Anyone ever notice the homeless camps around here? Reliable Enterprises has done a wonderful job of housing and providing work for the less fortunate here in Centralia, yet city officials are refusing to give a variance for parking? They are sticking to their guns saying two parking spaces — one garage and one guest parking per family unit. They don’t seem to care about the 29 families who need a roof over their heads.

Most of these families are lucky to have one car, let alone two, so where is the parking problem? I think the problem of lack of safe, supported housing is a much bigger problem than the “lack of parking.” As an appraiser, I have visited many homes in Centralia that have garages, and a large number of them are used to store things other than cars.

It will be a shame if Reliable has to send the $8 million back to the state and the 29 families who will be eligible for this great project are left out in the cold with no housing.

Shame on the mayor and city council.

 

Nadyne Tauscher

Centralia

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Matt Evans

It sounds like our community development department has some explaining to do as well. They approved a variance on phase I of this project and denied phase II. It is my understanding they approved variances on two other Reliable projects that received State Funding as well. By denying the variance, they have forced the issue of a change to the code. You would think a variance would be an easy decision. The process to get a variance should be VERY transparent and it should be consistently applied.

On a second note; if you watch the April 24 Council meeting, there is a an agenda item to approved phase II of Society Place (an over 55 community) that council approved a code change for in the last 6 months. The code change specifically dealt with waving the retirement of garages in lieu of carports. The argument being phase I was allowed to be built with carports as the basis. Counselor Vogt and the mayor both made the comment that traditionally carports have been used in manufactured home communities over 55. There is a lot of hypocrisy in all of this; from not being consistent in variances (especially phase to phase) to not being consistent in the application of code changes. It could be argued that covered parking structures have been the traditional method for covered parking at multi family apartments in Centralia - which they have.

It would be much easier to give a variance vs change the code in my opinion. If the Community Development department cannot be counted on to be consistent then the council should at least be consistent in how they are applying changes to code.

In this case, the code change that is being asked for is very specific. You would be hard pressed to find someone coming into this community under the restrictions of the recommended code change who would take advantage of our community.

Our counselors need hold Emil Pearson to task to begin with and save everyone involved a lot of heartache.

This project is important to our community and especially the most vulnerable in it

Tuesday, May 4