City committee denies Care Net apartment funding

A Madison committee voted to reject the city’s recommendation to grant funds to a workforce housing development on the east side Thursday night.

The Madison Community Development Block Grant committee voted 5-2 to deny $550,000 in funds for Eagle Harbor Apartments, an initiative launched by Care Net Pregnancy Center to build a 36-unit housing development.

The initiative is aimed at providing affordable housing for those participating in Care Net’s residential program.

The committee denied the recommendation for $150,000 in HOME/HOME Match Reserve funds and $400,000 in Affordable Housing Trust Funds for the proposed Eagle Harbor Apartments.

Community Development Director Jim O’Keefe said CDBG committee members ultimately decided the development was not a good fit for the funding. He cited loan term length as a primary reason for the decision, noting that Care Net’s request for a 16-year loan term exceeded the 10-year loan terms that the Affordable Housing Trust Fund often grants.

“The project wasn’t a good fit for the program from which it was seeking funding,” O’Keefe said. “To make this project work, they needed a longer loan term than the 10 years that the program offers.”

CDBG’s decision follows the Madison Plan Commission’s approval of the project at its Tuesday night meeting, during which both supporters and opponents spoke on the proposed housing.

Sean Phillips, neighbor to the Care Net project, alleged the development would more than double the occupancy on Macarthur Road, where the housing is set to be built. He added the apartment would not fit in well within the community.

“It’s going to be so big, it’s taller than anything on either side of Stoughton Road, and anything on either side of East Washington,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be the biggest thing around, and it’s going to be intentionally designed to stick out from our suburban neighborhood.”

Care Net Executive Director Liz Osborn expressed her disappointment with the decision in a statement, and said the organization will continue to move forward with the development.