LETTER: Arden Hills should follow St. Paul’s lead

To the Editor:

 

Former legislator Randy Jessup hasn’t done his homework. Case in point: his week of April 14 letter attacking Ramsey County’s pursuit of more affordable housing for TCAAP/Rice Creek Commons.

First, he praises St. Paul’s Ford Plant Project, stating it “ ... will be advantageous for everyone in the community.” Well, compare it with TCAAP. TCAAP is three times larger (427 acres vs. 122 acres), but will have 2.5 times less housing (1,460 units vs. 3,800 units) should Arden Hills have its way. In addition, 20% (760 units) of the Ford Plant units will be affordable, designed for families earning 30% to 60% of area median income (AMI).

Only 10% (146 units) of the TCAAP project will be affordable with a much higher bar — 80% of AMI. So, if the Ford Plant is Jessup’s model, Arden Hills should accommodate more housing units and more that are affordable.

Second, he accuses Ramsey County of “bullying” Arden Hills. But the county is simply trying to implement the development agreement. It provides that time, market forces and other unforeseen events may require changes. Only logical, right? But Arden Hills doesn’t want the terms changed, irrespective of merit or feasibility. 

Jessup’s community — Shoreview — just launched a new affordable housing program. He ought to be praising Ramsey County and encouraging Arden Hills to follow the lead of St. Paul — more housing that’s affordable for seniors, young people and lower-income residents.

 

Gregg Larson 

Arden Hills

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