NEPA housing projects get impact fee revenue
HARRISBURG - More than $2 million for projects to address housing needs in the Marcellus Shale drilling region in Northeast Pennsylvania was approved Thursday by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
The money from impact fees paid by natural gas drilling companies in 2011 will go to build new housing for senior citizens and low-income residents, help landlords rehabilitate rental properties, help low-income individuals pay rent and for other purposes.
In Northeast Pennsylvania, Bradford County projects received a total of $1.27 million from impact fees; Wyoming County received $1 million and Susquehanna County received $411,000. Sullivan County received $80,000 and Columbia County received $50,000.
A project to redevelop part of the 400 block of Main Street in Towanda received $500,000. The overall $11 million project will feature a residential building with apartments for senior citizens, commercial space and a parking garage.
Another $500,000 went to the Wyalusing Meadows townhouse project in Wyalusing.
Both projects are also seeking tax credit financing, said Bryce Maretzki, PHFA director of business development.
Bradford County also received $275,000 for a project to rehabilitate rental units.
Wyoming County received $750,000 for a project to help landlords rehabilitate rental properties in exchange for a commitment to rent apartments to low-income residents for a seven-year period,
This project seeks to offset the dwindling housing options as rents jumped due to the influx of gas industry workers, said John Jennings, an official with the Wyoming County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Another $300,000 went to land acquisition and planning for new townhouses at the Bridge View Commons project in Nicholson.
"We look forward to using the money to better the community," said Jennings.
Susquehanna County will use its amount for a rental rehabilitation program. Sullivan and Columbia counties will use their amounts for programs to help individuals pay their rents.
Overall, PHFA distributed a total of $7.6 million in impact fee revenue spread among 25 projects in 19 counties, said agency spokesman Scott Elliott.
The amount reflects a $2.5 million direct earmark for housing needs. In addition, another $5.4 million is available for housing needs from surpluses in impact fees going to municipalities that have approved impact fee ordinances.
The 2012 state impact fee law caps what a single municipality can receive in impact fee revenue annually at $500,000, or 50 percent of its operating budget.
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