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KCCHA affordable Olhava housing nixed
KCCHA to unload two Poulsbo properties.
POULSBO — Two Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority properties are up for sale in Poulsbo, leaving one area plan for roughly 80 multifamily units unfilled.
The sales of the properties could be a sign affordable housing in Poulsbo and Kitsap is an endangered species.
The Housing Authority will sell its Olhava property, where a housing development was in the pre-application process with the city, as well as Viking’s Crest, 4.11 acres on Fourth Avenue consisting of land and some additional housing. In total, KCCHA has put to market eight parcels across Kitsap to combat rising debt. Properties in Bremerton, Port Orchard and the agency’s main office in Silverdale are up for bid.
According to a Nov. 4 press release, recent construction material price escalation and the current economy have disabled the agency’s plans for its vacant properties. Proceeds from land sales, estimated at $7.5 million, will instead chip away at lines of credit.
“The sale of these properties is needed to ensure that KCCHA can continue to meet the agency’s mission,” said KCCHA Interim Executive Director Debbie Broughton. “We need to do this to ensure our public housing and affordable housing projects will continue.”
Last month, KCCHA laid off 15 employees.
City of Poulsbo Planning Director Barry Berezowsky said the Olhava development, governed by a master plan, is slated to contain 100 residential units, a majority of which would have been constructed by KCCHA. Because the master plan does not stipulate which market developed housing should be in, developers now can build homes in the area to regular market standards. So far, he said, there are no other developers attached to the area.
“I think the biggest impact that the residents, not only of Poulsbo but of the entire county, will realize is there appears to be looming a fairly significant decline in affordable housing,” Berezowsky said. “By taking the Housing Authority out of the equation the opportunity for sweat equity projects and projects for those who need assistance because they can’t afford market rate housing is going to be severely impacted.”
In April, the Summerset self-help and regular market development to be built in Poulsbo was also taken off the table after federal budget cuts left mortgage and staffing funds empty. Poulsbo currently houses three other self-help developments: Austrubruin, Whitney’s Glen and the in-construction Vetter Homestead. Self-help programs allow homeowners with pre-approved incomes to put in sweat equity hours by helping construct their home and the homes of their neighbors instead of offering up a large down payment.
Berezowsky said without a similar agency to the Housing Authority, the properties will likely be purchased by developers targeting a higher value.
To view properties for sale, visit http://www.kccha.org/property/.