A plan recently presented to the Perryville Town Commissioners by the Delaware Valley Development Company is something the town government has no business getting involved with.
As described to the town's board of commissioners, the project would redevelop the property at 515 Otsego St., turning it into about 30 townhouses and 36 apartments, with the project hinging on tax credits and state funding. As a result of the government assistance, the majority of the new dwellings would be leased to people whose annual income is at 50 percent of the median.
The company is seeking a letter of support from the town board of commissioners, a letter the town's elected officials seem a bit reluctant to draft. Rightly so.
Essentially, the company is seeking a variety of government assistance to build low-income housing. There's good reason to believe a fair number of the target market for this housing will consist of people eligible for government housing assistance of some kind. In short, the company gets government assistance to build the housing, then collects government money from the people who end up living there.
While there's nothing inherently wrong with low income housing — people with low incomes need places to live — and there's nothing wrong with government housing assistance for people who need it, a low income housing project built as a for profit venture ought not to need so much public sector start-up help.
If Delaware Valley Development Company wants to redevelop the Otsego Street property as a for-profit venture, and its plan is in keeping with the town's zoning laws, that's great. But it shouldn't need a letter of support from the town commissioners, or any other kind of government backing, for that matter.