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Riverside Residents Speak Out Against Controversial Senior Housing Proposal

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Nadya Faulx
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KMUW
More than 100 Riverside residents packed Wednesday's district meeting, where a proposed senior housing complex was on the agenda.

A controversial proposed senior housing project in Wichita Riverside neighborhood has had a setback.

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
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KMUW
Andy Bias, the former president of Mennonite Housing, speaks during Wednesday's meeting. He is working with developer CPD to build an affordable housing complex in Riverside.

At their meeting Wednesday night, district advisory board members voted unanimously not to support an application for federal Housing Tax Credits submitted by Central Plains Development. The company wants to build a three-story, 60-unit senior housing complex at 13th and Bitting in the historic area.

The developers say the tax credits are necessary to offer affordable rent.

"This is all about site improvement, and providing affordable, quality housing for our seniors," said Andy Bias, the former president of Mennonite Housing who is working with CPD on the project.

The application for tax credits must go through the city before being considered by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.

More than 100 residents came out to the meeting, most to express concerns over the impact the development could have on the environment, traffic, and the overall character of the neighborhood. Speakers repeatedly said it isn't the right development--or the right developers--for Riverside.

State lawmaker John Carmichael, who represents the district that includes Riverside, urged advisory board members not to follow city staff’s recommendation to support the project.

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
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KMUW
State Rep. John Carmichael speaks against a proposed development in Riverside at a meeting Wednesday.

"Quite frankly, I don’t think the staff has heard what you’ve heard here today," he said.

Ultimately, the board voted not to pass along a recommendation to the full City Council.

"I think we saw tonight that the neighborhood is not supportive of the project as is," board member Cindy Claycomb said. "At this point in time, I would not support the project as is because of that."

The project could still go before Wichita City Council members.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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