ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Nonprofit plans to put affordable housing in blighted area of Latrobe

Jeff Himler
| Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 8:21 a.m.

Greensburg nonprofit Homes Build Hope is seeking approval from Latrobe and funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to replace a dozen vacant, dilapidated homes along Latrobe's Mary Street with new, affordable housing.

Project representatives told council Monday that they plan to upgrade the blighted area along Loyalhanna Creek by constructing 20 new housing units, including nine duplexes and two single-family dwellings.

Scott Moore estimated the project could cost about $7 million, including $5 million to construct the dwellings in a modern Victorian style.

Moore said Homes Build Hope intends to submit a preliminary application next month to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for tax credit financing and, with appropriate city approvals, intends to follow with a formal application by Sept. 8. He said the nonprofit should know next spring if the financing will be approved.

“PHFA tax credits are extremely competitive,” said Chad Ruffner, retired director of Homes Build Hope. He noted the nonprofit has alternate plans for funding if need be.

Once funding is secured, it should take four to six months to get final drawings and engineering approved, Moore said. Construction is expected to take 14 months, he said.

City officials said Homes Build Hope will need a conditional-use zoning approval for the new home construction and a variance for three homes that will be short of the minimum 25-foot backyard setback from the creek. In addition, the city must maintain access to Unity Run, which enters the creek near the homes.

Moore said some of the area will need to be raised by as much as 2 feet to meet flood plain requirements. Also, 1.5 off-street parking spaces are to be provided for each of the 20 housing units.

Chairman Don Albert said the city planning commission favors the project provided it receives other needed approvals.

“Thanks for doing this,” Mayor Rosie Wolford told the project spokesmen. “This will be a real benefit to the neighborhood and the city as a whole.”

Ruffner said some of the homes apparently were placed in the neighborhood about 30 years ago but have remained vacant.

City manager Wayne Jones said the buildings were donated by the owner to the Westmoreland County Land Bank, which would raze the structures to clear room for the proposed new housing.

Homes Build Hope completed a similar housing revitalization along nearby Lloyd Avenue in 2005, Ruffner said.

In other business, Jones reported Victor Paving submitted an apparent low bid of $99,024.30 for paving sections of Chestnut, Hamilton and Main streets. Council will take action at a future meeting

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me