Tucked away in the southeastern corner of St. Louis County is Oakville, a 36k person city, that is the whitest and most conservative part of the County. Now HUD is spending millions in Federal tax dollars to place a Section 8 housing project right in the middle of the town. Even though they will have to build on a hazardous sinkhole area.
The following was sent to us by a reader:
I read Kyle Rodgers article ” HUD Secretary Spends Billions to Forcibly Integrate white Neighborhoods.” You may have heard the very limited news coverage of the “senior” HUD apartments being built in Oakville, Mo by National Church Residences. I and my fellow Committee members have done hundreds of hours of research and here is what happened:
In 2010 NCR (a multimillion dollar tax exempt management and real estate Corp who is the largest builder of low income senior housing) applied for and won a $6.7 million HUD Grant beating out hundreds of other charities. In 2011 they paid $575,000 for a 1.44 acre lot which the Co Assessor is worth only $62,900 now. This lot is a mile from the nearest bus line, has no sidewalks or grocery stores within walking distance. NCR could have bought a 3.8 acre lot on the same road on the edge of Oakville for only $268,000 which has a bus stop in front of it and within walking distance of strip malls, WalMart and even a Banquet Hall for Bingo.
In 2/2012 NCR applied for Rezoning. A rezoning hearing was set for 3/19/12, however Co Land Use Mgr Gail Choate, who has worked at her job for 20 years some how failed to notify the public of the public hearing even the adjacent properties owners (and Co Exec Dooley called this process flawless) and this property was rezoned in record time. The For Sale sign remained on the property until May of 2013 when the 100 year
old farm house was demolished.
Residents were outraged when they found out that they had been left out of the Rezoning process and we later found out why. In order to fit this large housing project St Louis County had to grant waivers and even change five of its existing building and safety codes and even building against USGS RECOMMENDATIONS in a heavy karsted (sinkholes) area.
This building will be the closest to an adjacent property (which is a preschool full of small children and the close proximity will hinder firefighters from addressing a fire on the north east side of the building), have the least amount of set back per height from the road which will impede the vision of people pulling out from adjacent properties, have the least amount of parking spaces per unit – 86 (which after reviewing the site plan our local deputy fire chief opined that he may not be able pull a fire truck onto if there are cars on it), have the most people in it per square foot (NCR indicated that only the person initially signing the lease must be 62 and that a spouse, a live in aid, a child or a grandchild will be able to share this small 300 square foot one bedroom apartment), and this will be the tallest and only three story building on the east side of Telegraph Road in all of Oakville. This is because the County’s own review of the area said that no building over two stories should be built in this area because of the prevalence of sinkholes. In fact according to this Study, they ate building this three story structure completely out of wood framing (when the told adjacent property owners they had to use steel framing and no wood at all – even the adjacent group of nuns who were just remodeling their kitchen), which sits on the major ridge line (which is the tallest point between the Mississippi and Meremac Rivers, with a five foot elevated grade, with NO BASEMENT FOR SENIORS TO HIDE IN, on a road where several tornados have touched down in the past several years. The US Geological Survey indicates that because of our clay soil we have cover collapse sinkholes which can open up without warning and swallow a building within a few hours, and that improper land use, such ad taking a small plot of land (such as 1.44 acres with a small house and gravel drive) and increasing the water run off (by putting a large building and parking on it and leaving little green space) and taking that run off and funneling it into a water retention basin (as they have done – which will even cause other area sinkholes to open up further) and then putting a lot of weight on it such as a large building and 37 cars, is likely to cause catastrophic sinkhole collapse.
Why would they build on that lot which is in the interior OF THE LARGEST CONSERVATIVE VOTING BLOCK (and I am sorry – but we are mostly – 96% white) in all of St Louis County? Well NCR told the County and HUD that when applying for the GRANT that Oakville was the area mist in need low income senior housing according to census info. However according to 2010 US census data Oakville has below the county-wide average of persons over 65 AND we have the second lowest percent of persons under the poverty level in all of the County AND those two factors Aline would mean that we are actually LEAST in need of low income housing. It’s funny because the census info on NCRs market study indicated the study area racial demographic not of Oakville, not of St Louis County Mo, BUT OF ST LOUIS COUNTY MINNESOTA.
NCR also told the Oakville Call that construction cost alone on this three story, wood frame, 44 1-bedroom apartment (and 1 2-bedroom manager) apartment building was $5.1 million. HOWEVER they used the firm of Design Alliance to design this building who had on their website that YOU CAN BUILD A 48 UNIT COMPLEX OF 2 & 3 BEDROOM APARTMENTS WITH A COMMUNITY CENTER FOR ONLY $3 million, so it look like the construction if this building would be even less. AND AFTER WE BROUGHT THIS TO THE ATTENTION OF THE ST LOUIS COUNTY COUNCIL THE WEBPAGE CONTAINING THIS INFORMATION WAS TAKEN DOWN. It is a good thing we had already printed out the info so that we had it to send to the authorities.
As if this was not even , the Capital Advance Form that NCR submitted to HUD to obtain reimbursement of expense, had dates and figures which appeared to be photo shopped AND NCR reported that by 2/23/13 they had already paid $5000 in taxes on the property , when the County Assessor told us that the taxes paid for 2012 and even 2011 were less than $1,000 per year. Further, the form also indicated that NCR paid legal fees of $100,000 to rezone a piece of property that the County Assessor says is only worth $62,900.
After finding out these things, our committee filed complaints with HUD inspector general AND the FBI.