Monday, July 10, 2017

Updated: Multiple last minute revelations raise more concerns before Beaty Street vote in Davidson

aShortChronicle has received multiple reports of last minute concerning issues which could and definitely should make the Town rethink approving the Beaty Street RFP and the newly revamped Luminous proposal when it votes Tuesday evening.

The first issue involves legal cases from Puerto Rico where multiple members of the "Davidson Development Partners" are domiciled.  A search of the NC Secretary of State website shows DDP is not yet an actual incorporated legal entity in North Carolina (even on the eve of this critical vote).  aShortChronicle understands from those familiar with the details these cases that they raise potential questions about the vetting of the parties to this potential deal with the Town.  If the details of these cases have not already been delivered to the Town, they will be soon.

This vetting (or lack thereof) of business partners should be very concerning to Davidson voters and taxpayers.  The last time the Town involved itself in business deal of this complexity, it ended up with the Mi-Connection albatross around its neck.  The Town did not complete a thorough due diligence and ended up having to buy many "customers" who were really nothing but "bad debt".

What real assurances do citizens have that this Board isn't getting the town into a similar situation?  How do citizens know for example that DDP truly has the resources to see the project through and that in the event of unforeseen events the project doesn't get stalled once the land is cleared?

The second issue that has come to light in the last day, is much more straight forward.  That is with the new Luminous plan itself.

As part of the RFP, Davidson Town Hall demanded affordable housing.  As aShortChronicle told readers in this earlier post the initial notes provided by DDP said the AH component in the new plan would be mixed in throughout the development.  The presentation released on Monday as part of the updated meeting agenda item tells a much different story.

Instead of mixing in AH units with the other residential development, the new DDP proposal includes a payment in lieu of building the actual units, lowers the total number from 20 to 17, and the real kicker appears to be the $1.65m offer now includes the PIL.  That last part would mean the town is really paying the PIL out of its own end compared to the original deal.

Importantly, this proposal doesn't meet the AH requirement in the original RFP.  That requirement stated "the proposed plan must provide a minimum of 50% of the total number of residential units on- site as affordable homes targeting households with incomes that range from 80% to 120% of the area median income. The remainder of the required units may be payment-in-lieu." (emphasis added)

If the Town were to accept this proposal, it is hard to see how it would not leave itself open to action by the other bidders who did make proposals that met the RFP requirements.  Also, if the Town accepts this bid it would certainly not be keeping with its supposed support for affordable housing as a core value.  Finally, aShortChronicle has seen information that this new proposal is not sitting well with the Town's long standing most ardent supporters of the AH program outside of Town Hall.

With all of this new information coming to light less than a day before the vote is scheduled to take place, Davidson Board Members need to rethink any support they have for this project and vote "no" on Tuesday.

Update 1:  Well, this AH subject may have hit a nerve.  Sometime on Tuesday the presentation with the AH information presented above was removed from the Davison agenda and replaced with this one.  A 4th option was added, and we are now hearing some form of AH may be back in.

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