by Lauren Gard
In a closed session last night, Emeryville city councilmembers voted to take Wareham Development to task for allegedly violating terms of an agreement it had struck with the city's redevelopment agency. When Wareham set out to build The Terraces, a 101-unit condo building on Horton St., it agreed to make 20 units available to low and moderate income buyers, per the city's affordable housing requirements. Yet more than half of those units are not currently occupied because their residents were displaced during the summer of 2004 due to construction defects. Repairs are slated to get underway soon, but it looks like residents won't be moving back in for at least another year.
In an e-mail city councilmember Ken Bukowski sent to some Terraces owners today, Bukowski indicated that at the May 1st public city council meeting, councilmembers asked City Attorney Michael Biddle to look into whether Wareham had violated any affordable housing requirements. "Apparently," wrote Bukowski, "there is a violation."
"I'm not sure of the legal interpretation, (and I may not have this exactly right) but apparently if you accept money for affordable units, there is some provision they must be occupied," he continued.
When reached by phone, Bukowski indicated that he could provide no additional details at this point, including information about when the suit will be filed. A call to Biddle was not immediately returned. Stay tuned...