The City of Madison’s Board of Estimates met Monday night and weighed the possible consequences of a potential affordable housing project proposed by Care Net, a Christian pregnancy center, and also granted approval to a plan to create a Madison Public Market.
The affordable housing would be located next to Care Net’s current Dane County location on Macarthur Road, Rhonda Thompson, Care Net’s development director, said. There would be 36 units in the proposed housing development, which would be called Eagle Harbor.
City officials have raised concerns that Care Net will not separate its Christian, pro-life mission from its housing project, which would receive government funding. Care Net would receive $550,000 from the government and $400,000 would be a loan from the City of Madison while $150,000 would be a grant from the federal government.
Thompson said Care Net will not be making a decision on who lives in the apartments at all, and said it will instead be decided by an outside organization.
She said anyone in the community will be allowed to apply. Most of the apartment’s units will be set aside for residents who meet certain income levels. Groups of units will be allocated for people who made 30 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent and 100 percent of the median Dane County income.
Madison’s Plan Commission unanimously approved Care Net’s proposal, while the Community Development Block Grant denied Care Net funding. Thompson said she disagrees with the Community Development Block Grant’s decision because Care Net met all criteria necessary to receive the funding.
Thompson said committee members are not allowed to discriminate based on religion and ideology when making decisions.
“We see a need for affordable housing and we would be able to help meet that need,” Thompson said.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said Care Net’s proposal is a controversial application. He said the four City Council members who were originally going to sponsor a City Council resolution granting Care Net funding have now removed their names as sponsors of the resolution.
By default, Care Net’s application will fail if there are no sponsors, Verveer said.
“The many concerns that have been raised about the application may very well be moot because under City Council rules. Without sponsorship, the resolution may not move forward,” he said.
If Care Net receives sponsorship from a member of City Council, the resolution will be taken up at the City Council meeting Feb. 5.
The Board of Estimates meeting also amended Madison Metro Transit’s 2013 budget to reflect the bus system’s increase in revenues. Ald. Chris Schmitt, District 11, sponsored the item, which will allow the $135,000 in increased revenues to be used.
Mayor Paul Soglin, along with four alders, also introduced an item that would allocate up to $250,000 for the creation of a business plan for the proposed Madison Public Market.
The Madison Public Market would be a fresh food market selling produce, processed foods and prepared foods in a Madison location outside of downtown. The item received approval and will also come before the City Council Feb. 5.