ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – An affordable housing project proposed by Palm Lake Christian Church isn’t sitting well with hundreds of St. Pete residents.
The church and a developer are seeking approval from City Council to construct 86 dwelling units on its Disston Heights neighborhood property. According to the request, the project would include a three-story building and seven one-story buildings.
A public forum held Thursday evening is giving people on both sides an opportunity to share their thoughts on the project before council members.
According to Andrea Cate, Palm Lake Christian Church board chair, the units would serve low-income seniors and people facing disabling conditions.
“We see a need, and we’re going to try to help fill that need,” Cate said.
However, nearly 800 people signed a petition against the church’s plan including Mafe Rajul. She lives within 300 feet of the church property and is worried about who would move in.
“I looked up the definition of what disabling conditions is and a disabling condition is a person that has substance abuse disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disabilities, or a combination of both, and I don’t believe that the neighborhood is properly equipped,” Rajul shared.
The particular tax-credit funding application is what Cate said will determine the occupants.
“What they don’t realize is that with Florida housing applications, on those applications you actually pick what population you’re targeting, and it’s very separate, so our intended population is disabling conditions with physical disabling conditions,” Cate said.
City council members are expected to vote on the proposal Thursday night.