I guess by now I can label myself as a public hearing specialist. Tonight, Councilwoman Shayla Favor held a public hearing on proposals from the City’s Development Department to create 3 new Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA’s) or as I call them “tax abatement districts” and to expand the boundaries of the already established AC Humko CRA which incorporates the western section of Harrison West. The 3 new districts are in low-moderate income areas and there are projects on the books to build housing for seniors and others at 60% AMI – 80% AMI. I attended the hearing to speak only on the AC Humko CRA which the Development Department wants to include a larger chunk of Harrison West and believe it or not, a part of Victorian Village that includes Neil Ave from Goodale to West Fifth and Harrison Avenue to the west of Neil from W. Fifth to Buttles. That is part of Victorian Villages boundaries. West of Harrison Avenue is Harrison West. The purple map of the AC Humko CRA is the existing boundary, and the dark yellow is the proposed boundary expansion. The following is my testimony: So the proposal is to expand the Harrison West neighborhood and include a part of the Victorian Village as a tax abatement district? Have you no shame? Rather than considering expanding the AC Humko CRA, you should be holding a public hearing about repealing it. As part of the Harrison West neighborhood and now a part of Victorian Village, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to consider expanding these boundaries is such an affluent, desirable, and risk-free development area of Columbus. AC Humko is one of only 3 so called Market Ready CRA’s which includes Fifth by Northwest and the Short North and they all need to be revoked. According to the census tracts that I pulled up, it shows the average annual income of the AC Humko is about $78,000 and a house or condo is valued at an average of around $306,000. If the SRA is expanded the average income will probably be closer to $120,000 and average homes around $400,000. According to the city’s Housing Incentive Policy, which is nothing more than an easy-to-read developers guide for developers on information where they can receive tax abatements, the AC Humko CRA had been awarded the second highest number of parcels of residential tax abatements (at 111) in the city between 2011 and 2015. And please spare me the sales pitch of the development communities birthday present from MORPC and their crystal ball population projections, so they can justify their continuation of high-end housing all over the city. And when throwing out numbers about projected population increases and the panic to over develop for sheer profit and political favors, that the projected increase of 700,000 people and 50 residents per day is for a 15-county region in 30 years. These numbers do not reflect the city of Columbus whose projected increase is about from its current population of about 904,000 that it might increase to 1.3 million in 30 years or about 13,000 per year which would be higher than its average annual population increase over the last 20 years. So where was all the new build panic 15-20 years ago about our population increases? Only in the last few years has the media, developers, city hall and those who are making a killing from it have been beating the drum. And although the 10% set asides for 80% and 100% AMI are well intentioned, its discriminates against blacks whose average income in Columbus is $37,500 and it isn’t putting a dent into the real affordable housing crisis of which 54,000 units are needed for those paying 50% or more of their income towards housing. You don't see young white people in their late 20's, 30's and 40's living in the streets because they can't find an apartment or studio to live in where rents are on average $1,250 a month or more. There is a glut of high-end housing in Columbus. Its long overdue that the city mandate set asides for 60% AMI for all new apartments regardless of being located in a CRA. If developers want to whine about it then tell them to go to Indianapolis, Austin or Nashville and buy off the politicians there to expand their wealth and greed. The city should not create or expand another CRA until you change the criteria for set asides. Put a $250 million affordable housing bond package on the ballot. Allocate $60 million of the American Rescue Plan Fund and request the Columbus Partnership to match it while putting $120 million into affordable housing. Urge the Columbus Partnership to start its own Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Lobby Children’s Hospital to incorporate a 50- 100-unit affordable housing apartment as part of its $3.3 billion 12.6-acre expansion. Increase the Affordable Housing Trust Fund percentage of the Hotel tax from 8.43% to 20%. Does everyone down here have to get permission from someone to initiate change or do you just listen to what lobbyists, political leaders and developers tell you what to do? We cannot tax abate our way out of this problem.