Rockwall residents oppose affordable housing project

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 6:29 AM

Proposed development

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ROCKWALL — At the bottom of the hill, out of sight from motorists, the land around a small tributary named Squabble Creek is at the center of quite a squabble itself.

"It's a habitat for bobcats, coyotes, red tail hawks," said resident Bruce Foith.

A developer wants to build 60 affordable housing units at the corner of State Highway 66 and FM 1141 on the east side of the city.

But residents oppose the development, because it borders wetlands that flow into Lake Ray Hubbard.

"Just messing with this land will mess with that land," Foith said.

They worry it will lead to trash in the protected area — and who knows what else.

Plus, there's no grocery nearby, and no sidewalks for children going to school.

"There's quite a few sites all over Rockwall that this would be perfectly logical, but this piece of property is not," said resident Jeanne Davis.

Opponents crowded into a small room Monday night for an emergency meeting of Rockwall's Housing Authority Board.

"It's not low-income. It's not Section 8. It's affordable housing, and it's for working families, and the need exists," said board member Bruce Paton.

Rockwall's Housing Authority says it has more than 250 families waiting right now for affordable housing in the city.

But without community support, the board voted unanimously to suspend its participation with the Georgia-based developer.

"We don't have hierarchically support," Paton added. "The state representatives involved have chosen — at least to date — not to support it."

But that won't stop the project. The developer can still build it, especially if the company gets state backing — which is where residents now plan to focus their opposition.

The developer wanting to build the affordable housing units is holding a public meeting at Williams Middle School, 1050 Williams Street, in Rockwall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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