You can see Port Covington was not the first one to get this illegal exemption from the city's inclusionary housing law and we already know we don't need an inclusionary law with Federal Equal Housing laws and all these Enterprise Zone development are soaked in Federal funding of all kinds.
If Baltimore had functioning media---functioning justice organizations, and a functioning Democratic Party all this would never have happened. It is time to place people in leadership positions that WANT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
You can pass laws that pretend to hold power accountable on TIFS while ignoring the gorilla in the room on affordable housing and saving our communities from simply becoming massive global corporate campuses.
Business & Developmentby Mark Reutter4:45 pmApr 19, 2016
Like Harbor Point, Port Covington will be exempt from city’s Inclusionary Housing Law
“Same old smoke and mirrors,” say two longtime housing advocates of the agreement that Mayor Rawlings-Blake is set to sign tomorrow
Above: A crowd gathers in front of City Hall in 2013 to protest the lack of inclusionary housing at city–subsidized Harbor Point. (Mark Reutter)
Since 2007, Baltimore has had on the books an Inclusionary Housing Law designed to ensure that developers getting city subsidies build some units that moderate and low income people can afford.
The city’s decision that Kevin Plank’s Port Covington – with 7,500 proposed residential units, the biggest single housing project in Baltimore’s history – is going to be excluded from this requirement should come as no surprise. (The exemption was not publicly announced, but rather revealed on page 46 of this week’s Board of Estimates agenda.)
The Inclusionary Housing program is weak and has never been improved, despite years of criticism from housing advocates and occasional hand-wringing by the program’s board.
As Lauren Siegel of City Advocates in Solidarity with the Homeless put it, “City leadership has had every opportunity since the last debacle at Harbor Point to change the ordinance or the regulations. An Inclusionary Housing Advisory group has been meeting and made many recommendations last year to the IH Board, which responded by saying that they do not have the capacity to make changes.”
The City Council’s response to the program’s inadequacies has been to establish a 13-member Inclusionary Housing Task Force dominated by the same city officials who let the program lapse.
The group has met once, with a second meeting postponed until after the primary elections. According to its chair, Councilman Bill Henry, “The work group is trying to coalesce the various conversations that have taken place between individuals and groups trying to develop a set of consensus changes that we can propose as legislation to the Council.”
In the meantime, the program grows weaker by the month.
Starting with $2 million in cash, the IH program has just $70,000 left in its coffers, according to its latest report to the Council.
Because the fund is barely solvent, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding tomorrow with Plank’s Sagamore Development Co. that opens the possibility of some inclusionary housing financed by state and federal programs, which Plank says he favors.
Siegel and Jeff Singer, retired president of Health Care for the Homeless, said the MOU reveals how the political rhetoric “about equity and inclusion” in the wake of last year’s Freddie Gray-related civil unrest “is just the same old smoke and mirrors.”
That little or no housing for residents in desperate need of affordable housing – over 58,000 people signed up for a chance to be randomly selected for Section 8 housing – may be the end result of tomorrow’s agreement is a travesty, Siegel and Singer said in a statement to The Brew.
The tagline for Port Covington’s social media campaign for the $535 million TIF public subsidy is “We will build it. Together.” Wednesday’s MOU will confirm that not everyone will live in it. (buildportcovington.com)
“Baltimore’s Inclusionary Housing ordinance and regulations seem to have been written by Rube Goldberg emulating Franz Kafka,” they said. “As best we can tell, the goal of the ordinance is to make developer’s profits feasible, rather than to create housing affordable to our vulnerable neighbors.”
Straight from Harbor Point Playbook
Three years ago, the program’s structural weakness was exposed when the $1 billion Harbor Point project was released from the requirement to set aside 20% for affordable housing in return for its $107 million in city TIF (tax increment financing) subsidies.
The exemption was made because the IH program didn’t have the funds to “make the developer whole” by reimbursing the roughly $250,000 cost for each affordable unit. (The IH law generously allows a developer to be fully reimbursed for each affordable unit he sets aside, which the city then purchases at market rate.)
The same process that took place then is now repeating itself.
Once again, as he did with Harbor Point, Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano has determined that the proposed $5 billion Port Covington project is “exempt from the requirement to create affordable housing under the IH Law.”
As a consequence, the Board of Estimates, controlled by Mayor Rawlings-Blake, will call on developer Kevin Plank tomorrow to voluntarily set a “goal” of 10% (as opposed to the law’s 20%) affordable housing if and when the developer is able to obtain housing credits from state and federal sources to pay for the units.
“If the publicly subsidized Affordable Housing Units cannot be constructed on a financially reasonable basis, Developer will contribute an amount [stet] to the Inclusionary Housing Fund,” the Board of Estimates agenda says.
Full of Loopholes
The amount of Sagamore’s prospective contribution was not disclosed in this week’s agenda. But based on the past, the contribution will be made in the distant future and will be full of loopholes.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank cut the ribbon opening the company’s innovation lab in 2011. (Brew file photo)
In the case of Harbor Point, for example, developer Michael Beatty agreed to contribute as much as $3 million to the IH fund when Harbor Point completes its projected build-out of 1,000 residential units.
So far, no residential units have been started. With the completion date for the units expected in the mid-2020s, Beatty’s contribution is about 10 years away. Who knows if the IH program will still be in existence then.
In the meantime, though, Beatty has benefited from $35 million in city TIF financing, with a “phase II” slug of TIF funding expected in the near future.
Plank’s development company is seeking $535 million in TIF financing to pay for parks, bike paths, roadways and other infrastructure across 160 acres of former industrial land that Sagamore Development has purchased in Port Covington in South Baltimore.
In pursuit of his goals, Plank, the founder and CEO of Under Armour, has hired a number of local powerbrokers and influence peddlers to win approval of the TIF and other concessions from the city.
Among those hired by Sagamore Development is Michael Pokorny, manager of the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program from 2009 until he was hired by Plank last summer.
Before that, Pokorny managed TIF and PILOT projects for the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC).
Last month, the BDC formally recommended the $535 million TIF subsidy to Port Covington after a series of meetings closed to the press and public.
Here we see CA with a CA Supreme Court ruling that inclusionary housing law is constitutional and the Supreme Court declined to address this giving strength to that state ruling. Now, since inclusionary housing is simply Federal Equal Opportunity Housing when Federal funds are involved we all know legal precedence is CREATE MIXED-INCOME HOUSING BECAUSE IT IS THE BEST DEVELOPMENT POLICY.
Over and over we see cities with affordable housing crises after two decades of US cities having Enterprise Zone development Federal funding for just that-------so it is not only about these two exceptions to inclusionary----
AND BALTIMORE NEEDS TO GET BUSY WITH USING WHAT ARE PLENTY OF FUNDS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO REBUILD EACH COMMUNITY ----IT BENEFITS ALL COMMUNITIES IN BALTIMORE TO DO THIS.
If I was a realtor in Baltimore I would be very concerned with how I will make a living when global corporations come in with there own real estate firms. We have Baltimore Development with its own real estate firms buying all the city real estate they can ----and this consolidation of ownership is to NO CITIZENS' BENEFIT.
AN EXEMPTION TO INCLUSIONARY HOUSING LAW------BALTIMORE CITY HALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU KNOW THESE COUNCIL PEOPLE ESPECIALLY BILL HENRY KNOW THEY ALWAYS WRITE PROGRESSIVE POSING LAWS WITH LOOPHOLES.
'Councilman Bill Henry admits that the law has only been marginally effective. He and other members of the Council as well as the Inclusionary Housing Advisory Board have been discussing “an array of possible legislative fixes.”'
SCOTUS Passes on San Jose Inclusionary Housing Law
By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 1, 2016 12:05 PM
The Supreme Court declined to address the constitutionality of San Jose's inclusionary housing law on Monday, denying cert of real estate developers petition from a recent California Supreme Court ruling upholding the affordable housing plan. Under the inclusionary housing law, developers of large residential projects must set aside a small percentage of units as affordable, below market rate housing, which real estate developers had claimed was an unconstitutional taking.
The denial leaves the law, and the California Supreme Court's ruling, intact, but as Justice Thomas noted in a separate opinion, the conflict raises important constitutional issues that are likely to be before the Supreme Court at some time in the future.
San Jose's Affordable Housing Crisis
San Jose, like much of the Bay Area, is in the midst of a rental crisis. With a growing population, limited housing stock, and influx of high-paid professionals, rents have been skyrocketing over the past years. According to Rent Jungle the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Jose is now $2,380 a month -- almost double what average rents were in 2009. Prices aren't much cheaper in neighboring towns.
Instead of building public housing, San Jose has responded by requiring developers to include affordable units in larger projects. Under San Jose's inclusionary housing policy, all residential developments with 20 or more units must reserve 15 percent or more of their units for below-market sales to lower income buyers. Those restrictions remain in place for 45 years. Or, developers could opt out by paying a fee.
Similar laws are in place in more than 170 municipalities, but San Jose was the largest to adopt such stringent requirements.
When San Jose's policy was adopted in 2010, the California Building Industry Association sued, arguing that inclusionary housing was an unconstitutional taking of property without just compensation. The California Supreme Court rejected the developers' challenges last summer and the case was promptly appealed to the U.S. Supremes.
An Important Issue, but an Untimely One
Justice Thomas wrote a concurrence to the Supreme Court's denial of cert, noting the important issues raised by the case. Under Supreme Court takings precedents, administrative agencies may not condition land use approval on relinquishment of property rights unless there's a clear nexus and "rough proportionality" between the exaction and the land use. (The Nollan/Dolan test.)
But, San Jose's inclusionary housing policy wasn't adopted by an administrative agency; it was passed through the city's legislature. And for the past two decades, Thomas notes, courts have been split on how the Nollan/Dolan test applies to legislatively-imposed conditions on land use, if it applies at all.
San Jose's inclusionary housing policy could have provided the opportunity to settle that question. But, "threshold questions about the timeliness of the petition for certiorari might preclude us from reaching the Takings Clause question," Thomas wrote.
Until a timelier case presents itself, there will still be some uncertainty about the constitutionality of inclusionary housing policies -- but there might be some more affordable housing in San Jose.
Baltimore has a quasi-governmental Parking Authority----a quasi-governmental Housing Authority-----and you see below yet another quasi-governmental agency that would be tasked with making sure all Federal, state, and local funding for housing and laws surrounding housing are enforced. Why would a then Mayor Dixon make this organization quasi-----? Why does it have to exist outside of having a city agencies in each community all handling housing issues? The answer is---there is no transparency in this designation and keeping it grant oriented instead of simply having public employees working for citizens responding directly to them is not done under a Wall Street BAltimore Development and a very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins.
Baltimore is great at sending funding to keep citizens occupied with services and activities----but there is absolutely no serious advocacy fighting against misappropriation of funding so critical to rebuilding our communities. We have another layer of non-profits that are doing what many other non-profits are doing---and none of this is getting people housing.
BALTIMORE MUST END THIS QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL DESIGNATION ALL AROUND BUT ESPECIALLY FOR OUR AGENCIES DEALING WITH HOUSING----
Calling a city agency---INC. is the height of Wall Street global corporate capture---they want everything that is public made into a corporation.
I can tell you by ex-offenders' being angry that not much is happening in housing with any of these agencies and it starts with the fact all the revenue is allowed to be misappropriated.
If you try to open this website you cannot and it looks as though it has moved to being a Johns Hopkins/NAACP organization. The city has too much trying to make people feel good and no making actual community development AND ESPECIALLY FOR HOUSING. Housing and rebuilding each community IS BALTIMORE RISING.
201 E. Baltimore Street, 15th floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Rising Inc. is a quasi-city governmental organization that has the primary responsibility of advancing Mayor Shelia Dixon's vision to maximize the human potential of Baltimore residents from the beginning to the end of life through mentoring, family strengthening training, and facilitating the re-rentry of returning offenders to their families and the community.
Baltimore has given decades of training in construction to underserved citizens in communities thinking they will be lifting up their communities but end having no jobs and no communities. Johns Hopkins and Wall Street Baltimore Development spend more revenue PRETENDING TO BE PUTTING PEOPLE TO WORK---PRETENDING THEY ARE BUILDING OPPORTUNITY----AND NEVER DO.
We know part of the loss for black citizens is immigrant labor but that is not the problem----REBUILDING EACH COMMUNITY WITH HOUSING WOULD PROVIDE WORK FOR BOTH BLACK CITIZENS AND IMMIGRANTS.
This is where all of the election networking happens as these low wage trades workers are simply trying to get project funding to give them work---they have no idea of what these Baltimore Development pols are doing with a Master Plan ------
EBDI: Baltimore Trades Guild
from EBDI3 years ago
Some of the most detailed construction work in our community is being done by the Baltimore Trades Guild, which works with our neighbors who often struggle to gain work – particularly, ex-offenders.
Baltimore Trades Guild provides training – connecting with the EBDI Workforce Pipeline – while also serving as a subcontractor on projects.
Currently, the Baltimore Trades Guild team is working on the restoration of historic wood cornices on the 25 row houses being renovated by Verde Construction near our office.
Baltimore Trades Guild President Mylo Celsy talks about the project:
"The crew that I’m working with is from the EBDI pipeline. They are up working on scaffolding, over 25 feet in the air, restoring the cornices of the houses. So they’re learning a lot of skills in woodworking, in safety and how to work up in the air."
"While our participants are on the job learning as they are working, they are also earning a living wage. Additionally, we work with them a couple of hours a week doing advanced skills training, managing finances, how to get a drivers license, and peer mentoring with men who have built construction companies out of nothing."
Lead Carpentry Supervisor Oral Lampart explains how they help build careers:
"Most of the guys that come to me have very little skill – or limited experience in general contracting – but not the intricate work we do. We work with very fine detail, which is very painstaking. It's a slow tedious process, but at the end we have a beautiful product. It gets frustrating for the guys at times because I'm constantly picking on getting it better, getting more details. And if they do that well – then construction will be a piece of cake to them."
In the video, you’ll also hear from our neighbor Unandus Dyson, who connected with the Baltimore Trades Guild through our pipeline, and is supporting himself doing construction while also attending Morgan State University. And his story represents what we are working together to achieve – working with our neighbors to learn skills, gain employment and pursue even greater opportunities.
Thank you for reading this weeks email. Please take a few minutes to watch our video and see our neighbors hard at work, restoring our community.
PEOPLE CONSTANTLY SHOWING ENTHUSIASM FOR WANTING TO WORK AND BEING ALLOWED NO OPPORTUNITY IS WHAT WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND A VERY, VERY, VERY NEO-CONSERVATIVE JOHNS HOPKINS IS ABOUT.
I met one of the church leaders fighting for jobs for his construction team trained to do all of the above-------they were of course denied any jobs in East Baltimore Development and he was actually arrested and threatened with jail for protesting for his trained construction group.
When I met him after having to deal with Baltimore courts for months for doing nothing I told him about a developer in their neighborhood starting to build and he said-----THEY AREN'T GOING TO HIRE US.
All of this show and tell pretending over development and affordable housing HURTS ALL CITIZENS IN BALTIMORE. There is nothing good about saving all surrounding communities to be global corporate campuses and global factories-----it is far better for everyone to have our citizens working----paying taxes-----having money to spend at a local small business. Baltimore has plenty of revenue for rebuilding each community and rehabbing houses so there is no reason for this third world housing condition----JUST GET RID OF THESE WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT POLS AND CANDIDATES.
Church group urges construction jobs for E. Balto. residentsCommunity Churches United plans to meet with EBDI
December 08, 2011|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun
A job advocacy group in East Baltimore plans to demand that the developer of a $1.8 billion redevelopment project north of Johns Hopkins medical campus hire more local residents for the next phase of construction, including work on a new public school and a state public health laboratory.
The group, Community Churches United, said Thursday it would meet later this month with East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit leading the renewal of 88 acres in the Middle East neighborhood, to make its hiring proposals.
During a meeting Thursday afternoon at Triumph Christian Church on East Oliver Street, organizers told an overflow crowd, mostly unemployed men from the neighborhood, that all future construction projects should be required to hire at least half their workers locally.
"EBDI will continue to build in the community, and it's time for us to claim these jobs and make sure everyone in this room is working," said Jermaine Jones, an organizer, who estimated the community had unemployment levels of more than 19 percent. "I need everyone in this room to be ready to go to work."
EBDI aims to fill at least 15 percent of commercial jobs with skilled and unskilled minority workers, with the first priority given to residents, according to an EBDI plan that took effect in August. For residential projects, the goal is to have local minority residents fill 20 percent of jobs.
Christopher Shea, EBDI's CEO, did not attend Thursday's meeting at Triumph Christian Church and could not be reached afterward.
During a City Council hearing last month, Shea said that work so far had created 759 permanent jobs in East Baltimore, a quarter of which went to residents. In addition, he said, 813 construction jobs were added in the past year and a half, with 74 going to East Baltimore residents.
Organizers of Community Churches United, a coalition of local churches, called those levels unacceptable.
"Enough is enough. The existence as a black community is at stake," said organizer Richie Armstrong, referring to EBDI's relocation of 584 families from the Middle East neighborhood since 2003. "If we don't stop it today, our kids will be in the same kind of meeting figuring out where they're going to work."
The church group, which partners with the Laborers' International Union of North America to train workers in construction trades, proposes to become a partner with EBDI, offering a pipeline for trained, local workers to the construction jobs planned for the next decade.
The renewal project ultimately could include 1,500 to 2,000 new and renovated residential units and up to 1.7 million square feet of commercial space.