(Orange, Texas)

July 16, 2013

Redevelopment plan moves forward

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Redevelopment plans for Arthur Robinson II, Pine Grove, and Velma Jeter were approved giving Housing Authority Orange permission to move forward with demolition and relocation plans for low housing residents in Orange.

The resolutions were tabled at the June meeting when the commissioners faced a deadlock in the vote and unable to agree to approve or fail the resolutions. Three commissioners were in attendance to have a quorum so the meetings could be held, however, unless all three voted the same, the vote would not count.

The meeting held Tuesday afternoon held a quorum with all four of the current commissioners present, including newly appointed Josie M. Lindsey. The fifth seat is expected to be filled during the next Orange City Council meeting on July 23 to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Joseph Robinson.

The resolutions for the Redevelopment Plans stated for the development of up to 80 units at each location. At present, only Velma Jeter is actually scheduled for 80 unites. Arthur Robinson II is excepted to have 70 units, with 35 set aside for public housing and Pine Grove will house 66 units.

“This is for the proposed development with the CBDG funds,” Executive Director LaNita Brown said. “The unit count may change. Like everything, it is subject to change.”

The demolition/disposition application for the Velma Jeter Homes property to the Special Applications Center of the Department of Housing and Urban Development was approved by the board. The deadline for completion of the project is July 30, 2014. The residents will receive a 90 day notice as required by law.

“Folks displaced during this process will have first preference to returning,” Commissioner Asst. Chairman Michael Combs said.

An Orange citizen, June Sonier, questioned the board concerning why the housing was being relocation.

“Will the Housing Authority Orange my for the loss of value in my house,” Sonier asked.

Sonier also expressed a concern for the possibility of increased crime activity in her neighborhood.

A woman who said she was a Velma Jeter spokesperson said the residents there were concerned with what was really going on with the demolition and requested to have something in writing to help explain it to other family members who may not be able to attend the meetings.