Tuesday, February 10, 2009

DCHD Auction Bidders to be Disclosed

Last week's auction of vacant property throughout Washington DC met with mostly positive reviews. But complaints were raised about its "secretive" nature, a process that jarred with Obamian notions of an anticeptically transparent government. Now the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD), which held the auction of 31 vacant "nuisance properties" on January 30th, has said it will reveal the winners. Eventually. For now, despite community concerns over the furtive sale, Angelita Colon-Francia, Senior Public Information Officer, Office of Strategy and Communications, has informed DCmud that the winning bidders "were mostly individuals, although four bidders have already stated they intend to purchase their properties using corporate entities.” Oh, the new neighbors are individuals. There goes the neighborhood.

If that is not a sufficient balm to open-government zealots, satisfaction of community qualms about just who (or what) purchased will have to wait until an upcoming, as-yet unscheduled public hearing. Recites Colon-Francia: “Per Section 42-3171 of the D.C. Code, DHCD will announce the date of a public hearing, along with the names of the prospective buyers, in the D.C. Register after it has received deposits for each property.”

Almost as interesting, DCHD has also gone public with a new Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which is intended to “encourage private investment in the construction and rehabilitation of low- and moderate-income housing,” or, if you are a city Councilmember, go 8 out of 9 years without paying taxes. [DCMud has still not verified that last part yet] Though the update to District policy was mandated by federal law, the changes to the program will not affect current DCHD-sponsored affordable housing initiatives, including the upcoming redevelopment of 809 Kennedy Street, NW and Jubilee Housing Inc.’s renovation of various Adams Morgan properties like Ontario Court and The Ritz. According to DCHD guidleines, “the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program provides 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits to developers of new or rehabilitated rental housing for the production of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income persons at 60 percent or less of Area Median Income.”


Tom Veil on Feb 14, 2009, 2:54:00 PM said...

What on earth are you complaining about? Before this auction, the DC gov't didn't even let the public know about a property sale until the deal had been done, behind closed doors, with a well-connected developer. I was at the auction, and I am the least-connected guy in DC -- because like a dozen websites were advertising it. If people wanted to know who won the bids at the auction, they could have just gone up to the winners and introduced themselves.

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