County Council Say “No” To New Clinton Apartments

Laurens County Council this week refused to give a letter of recommendation for a new apartment complex outside Clinton. A representative WODA Development Construction Management appeared before County Council, asking them to give the company a letter of support for a 42-unit affordable housing project just outside Clinton at 309 Jacobs Highway.

Tammy Stansbury from The WODA Group explained that her company consists of experienced developers, general contractors, and property managers specializing in the design, construction, and management of affordable housing in rural, suburban and urban communities. She said the 29-year-old company is based in Westerville, Ohio, but has built housing in 14 states. Stansbury told County Council Tuesday that this housing project is only for working families and is not for the Section Eight program. She said they’re proposing an investment of $8.4 Million in a part of Laurens County where growth is stagnant. She told Council, “We are not asking for any money, we just need a letter of support that is required for us to receive tax credit through the Low-Income Housing Credit.”

Council members Garrett McDaniel and Diane Anderson cast the only votes in favor of providing the letter of support. McDaniel said, “I believe that by us saying that we don’t want housing designed to be affordable for households making less than $40,000 says that we only care about industry and those building million-dollar houses.” He later expressed displeasure to WLBG about Council’s refusal to support the project.

Councilman Keith Tollison told council Tuesday evening, “I am very much concerned over bringing lower income families that devalues the system to our county. I see neighborhoods that houses people who play the system, and residents in the area do not want this type of housing.”

One of the most vocal critics of the project was Councilman David Pitts, a Clinton resident, who told council that the value of the homes in his area would go down if the plan went through.

Barry Accountius, Vice President of WODA Development Construction Management, told WLBG News yesterday that the project is now, “Dead in the Water, and we will just move on to where we are wanted.” He said Council “Did not truly understand what we were trying to say.” Repeating they’re not affiliated with the federal Housing and Urban Development program, he said We just receive a tax break for keeping rents reasonable.”

WLBG spoke with Councilman Pitts yesterday and he said that he had received thanks from many of the residents in his district for voting down the project.