Agency OKs Low-Income Housing Rules

Article excerpt

The state housing authority adopted new rules Monday for a low-income housing program, in hopes that the governor will restore its control over the program.

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency's board of trustees voted 3-1 in favor of an 88-page set of emergency rules, which govern a program giving tax credits to developers who build low-income housing projects.

The biggest change: A city council could turn away a project, if the community has no need for it. The rules also set up an appeal for developers.

Board member John G. Malloy said he voted for the rules "under strong protest."

"I think we've been held captive by some rules that were rammed down our throat," Malloy said. "There are several in there that I just can't abide."

Another member, the Rev. Glenn Woodberry, voted against the rules.

Gov. Frank Keating issued an executive order three weeks ago stripping the agency of its control over the tax-credit program. Keating said its rules must give citizens a chance to protest housing projects in their neighborhoods.

The governor agreed to lift the order if the agency changed its rules. He will likely review the new rules today, spokesman Dan Mahoney said. The new regulations are subject to his approval and are only temporary, an emergency measure to restore control over the tax-credit program.

They will be changed before the agency submits permanent regulations.

State Rep. Don Weese requested the order after waging a losing battle against an apartment complex in Broken Arrow. Keating and the agency said the order does not interfere with those apartments.

Weese, R-Broken Arrow, worked with the agency to devise the new rules.

Keating said earlier he opposes housing "for pimps and prostitutes and thieves and dope dealers," referring to a Section 8 project in Tulsa under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. …