Olmsted County seeking Rochester council support for senior housing project

·3 min read

Jun. 18—ROCHESTER — A

proposed 36-unit complex

for low-income area seniors could depend on whether the Rochester City Council opts to waive city fees for the project.

"If they don't waive the fees, it probably won't get done," Olmsted County Board Chairman Mark Thein said of a request for city support of a county housing project at 1001 Mayowood Road SW.

The project, dubbed

Mayowood II

, aims to maintain at least half the 36 units for people earning less than 30% of the area median income, placing the maximum income at $24,720 for a couple and $21,630 for an individual.

The remaining apartments could be rented to people earning up to half the median income, or approximately $41,000 for a family of two.

At least seven of the apartments are expected to be dedicated to people categorized as "high-priority homeless," which is based on area housing needs.

Michele Merxbauer, the county's housing program manager, said the request to waive city fees is part of the county's quest for state funding support to build the project and keep rents low.

To file a competitive application for state help, the county must show the project is financially viable.

To reduce costs, the county has donated land valued at $400,000, provided $650,000 in other support and requested a $450,000 contribution from the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing.

Addressing an estimated $318,560 in city fees is the next step in securing local support, and Olmsted County commissioners said waiving the fees will help provide housing that caters to some of the area's lowest-income residents.

"I think this is a perfect example to show how these fees affect the inability to provide affordable housing in the county," Thein said.

Merxbauer said paying the fees would likely limit the ability to receive state funding or require increased rents to fund the project.

The Rochester City Council will review the request to waive fees during its 7 p.m. meeting Monday, with city staff recommending a plan to forgo $234,926 in fees.

The reduction includes 100% for $149,000 in parkland dedication fees and $2,210 for community development application fees, with a 50% reduction for water, sewer and other development fees.

The county must submit its proposal for state housing credits and potential housing bonds to Minnesota Housing by July 14.

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of June 20 include:

* City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at

www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings

and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

* City Council, 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the Government Center. The meeting will livestream at

www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings

and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

* Park Board, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.

* Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers of the Government Center.

* Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 11 a.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 for the city-county Government Center.

* Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board, 1 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.

* Physical Development Committee, 2 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 for the city-county Government Center.

* Administrative Committee, 2 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.

* Board of County Commissioners, 3 p.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the Government Center.

* Parks Commission, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Public Works, 2122 Campus Drive SE in Rochester.

* Board of Appeals and Equalization, 7 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.

* School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.