Friday, August 5, 2016

The good, bad, and ugly: Another ODCA report

This is not a surprise to anyone who interacts with or follows DC government: "Results of the Auditor's Examination―Overall, District agencies did not adequately monitor the various requirements contained in the agreements that each developer signed with the District government."   So writes the author of the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor report District Agencies Did Not Provide Sufficient Oversight of Private Development Projects and Have Not Collected Potentially Significant Fines (PDF).

The author also writes:

It is important to note that just because District agencies often failed to adequately monitor the developers' performance, that does not mean that the developers did not comply with the requirements. In both cases, the developers complied with some or most of the requirements in their agreements, even when there was little to no documented District government oversight. (p. 6)

There was a lot at stake in these two developments.   The DC government needed to deliver on the promise of affordable housing.   For the developers, the stakes were loan bounty.

The SeVerna on K apartment developer, for example, agreed to deliver seven community benefits for the more than $24 million loaned to SeVerna Phase II, LLC on December 21, 2012 by DMPED and DHCD.   The benefits:

  • Provide 80 units of affordable rental housing for households with a total income not exceeding 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
  • Provide 21 units of affordable rental housing for households with a total income not exceeding 50 percent of the AMI.
  • Set aside 48 rental units for former residents of the Golden Rule Center and Temple Courts Apartment Complex.
  • Contract and procure goods and services from Certified Business Enterprises in an amount equivalent to no less than $9,905,055.
  • Use the Department of Employment Services as the first source to fill all new jobs created as a result of the project.
  • Fill at least 51 percent of the newly created jobs with D.C. residents.
  • Use District residents registered in programs approved by the District of Columbia Apprenticeship Council for 35 percent of all apprenticeship hours worked in connection with the project.

A similar agreement was struck with Station Holdings, LLC for the Station House apartments (701 2nd St NE).

For those interested in good government, affordable housing, or accountability, this is a must-read and -save for the agency oversight hearings that will take place in February 2017.

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