Home News Local news Senate Committee Pushes for Moderate-Income Townhouses on St. Croix

Senate Committee Pushes for Moderate-Income Townhouses on St. Croix


Mar. 7, 2008 — The V.I. Senate Committee on Housing, Sports and Veterans Affairs Friday moved forward an amendment to construct moderate-income townhouses on St. Croix.
The amendment was discussed during a meeting at the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room in Frederiksted. It calls for construction of 10 moderate-income townhouses in Frederiksted in the block of Prince, Hospital, Market and Hill Streets. The two-story townhouses will have 1,520 square feet of living space, with a bath and a half and three bedrooms.
The legislation would also mandate that six townhouses be built in Christiansted on Strand Street between Market and Smith streets. These would also be two-story townhouses with 1,265 square feet of living space, with two baths and three bedrooms each.
Officially the measure is called the seventh amendment to the Housing Finance Authority's three-year housing initiative of the V.I. Code section 713e, originally approved in 2002. The objective of the developments, according to a Senate news release, is to provide homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income people while revitalizing the towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted.
The committee also moved forward to the full Senate a plan for renovation and preservation of Carib Villas II, III and IV, an affordable multi-housing complex located in Estate La Grand Princess, totaling 68 units. Crib II, III, and IV Limited Partnership will acquire and rehabilitate this property.
The authority's financial shortfall will not allow it to commission a new housing-demand study that could dictate affordable housing, said Clifford Graham, executive director of the V.I. Housing Finance Authority, reading from a prepared statement.
At the end of February the Housing Authority received almost $6 million of the $13.9 million the government owed it since 2006, Sen. Louis Patrick Hill reported.
"They will pay another portion of that by the end of summer if they can afford it," Hill said.
Committee members questioned a representative of the construction company that won the bid for the development of the affordable housing in Frederiksted and Christiansted, Sarah Graci of Northshore Partners. Senators asked about her company hiring locals, its reliability and its commitment to build and repair both existing housing and future housing developments.
Sen. James Weber III questioned her about whether the housing developments would include alternative energy so residents were not stuck with high WAPA bills. Graci said her company would research alternative energy. Weber asked that she make a call to the V. I. Energy Office within the week, but she refused to commit to a date.
The six committee members in attendance voted to approve the seventh amendment. Sen. Carmen Wesselhoft was absent.
Committee members present at Friday's hearing were Sens. Celestino White Sr., Louis P. Hill, Shawn-Michael Malone, Alvin L. Williams, Usie Richards, and Neville A. James. Non-committee members present were Sens. Norman Jn Baptiste, Weber and Juan Figueroa-Serville.
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