Workforce housing project bitterly contested in Carver

The city of Carver is working to decide if they're going to approve a new workforce housing apartment complex, and the bitter debate ensued during the City Council's Monday meeting.

The 68-unit complex, Carver Crossing, was proposed by Ron Clark Construction over a year ago. Ron Clark Construction has a purchase agreement for the property south of the new Co. Road 11 Park and Ride just off Jonathan Carver Parkway.

Joe Thissen lives across from the proposed apartments and operates a Facebook group called "Stop Carver Workforce Housing." A recent post of his read, in part:

"Based upon the research of countless Carver residents, our message to the city is this: "Make a Motion to Reject the Current Ron Clark Proposal for One That Better Suits Carver." One that is smaller and closer to meeting the needs of Carver, affording us the opportunity to blend new affordable housing throughout the community. If we decide to put almost all of the entire community's affordable housing in one place, in one large building, all in just 2 acres… what are we saying about Carver?"

"The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency says that projects that are larger than 50 units unfortunately have a negative impact when it comes to crime in the surrounding community," Thissen told Fox 9.

For months, Thissen has rallied against the project and has raised more than $11,000 to spend on an attorney, and the other half, he said, has been spent on "awareness."

Should the council vote in favor of the project, Thissen plans to take legal action, not only because he's worried the project will attract crime and lower property value, he believes the project goes against the city's comprehensive plan. The Feb. 26 Caver Crossing staff report finds the project is in compliance, however.

"You're not going to find a lot of people who say a bad thing about Ron Clark's projects," city administrator Brent Mareck said.

According to the Chaska Herald, rent for the apartments could start at $778 for a one bedroom, $933 for a two bedroom and $1,078 for a three bedroom unit. Income would be limited – a single person could earn a maximum of $34,860 and a household of two could earn $39,840.

The city of Carver has included links to several site plans, studies and evaluations on its website:
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