County supports workforce housing complex

A lack of workforce housing options in northern Hays County is motivating local leaders to support a project that would construct more homes for lower income Kyle residents.

The NRP Group, a San Antonio-based development company, is looking to develop a workforce housing project at 3800 Dacy Lane in Kyle, which would bring 324 new apartment units to the area.

And at the Sept. 11 Hays County Commissioners Court meeting, county commissioners unanimously voted to approve a resolution of no objection to the project, a preliminary step before receiving approval from the city.

“We want to offer a workforce housing project to an area where that doesn’t yet exist,” said Jason Arechiga, vice president of development for the NRP Group. “Who are they? These are your firefighters, teachers and police officers.”

Arechiga said the project will provide housing for citizens who make less than 60 percent of the median household income in Kyle.

According to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data, the median income in Kyle was $74,771. To qualify for the Dacy Lane apartments, residents can make no more than $43,662.

“There are workforce/affordable housing options in San Marcos, but none in Kyle or Buda,” Arechiga said. “Like our projects in San Marcos, this development would be packed with amenities, wood flooring, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.”

With the upcoming expansion of Dacy Lane to Windy Hill Road, Arechiga said the location of the project would best benefit the community, as it would be near Seton Medical Center Hays and Chapa Middle School.

Although local leaders support more workforce housing options, some argue the lack of high paying jobs is more of the problem than affordable housing. 

Kyle City Councilmember Dex Ellison said he is in support of workforce housing options, but wants the city to continue its efforts to attract employers who can provide incomes to support residents and their families.

“When over 80 percent of working residents commute outside of the city for work each day, that means a lot of people are gone for significant periods of time,” Ellison said. “If we can get people gainfully employed in the city and show that this growing population will be here through much of the day, this can lead to more opportunities for the city, but just as importantly for residents to spend less time commuting, money on gas, etcetera.”

Hays County Commissioner for Precinct 1, Debbie Ingalsbe said workforce housing has been a topic of discussion for many years in the county; cities such as San Marcos have already implemented a diverse pool of housing options.

“The design of this development seems to be top-notch,” Ingalsbe said. “I’ve seen the other developments (NRP Group) has, and the longevity and quality speak highly of what you all do.”

Arechiga said residents are being priced out of their neighborhoods in northern Hays County.

“Ideally, I think government has a hand in promoting opportunities for people to earn a living wage and right here in Kyle,” Ellison said. “I want to help build up families to hopefully get beyond renting one day and into owning.”

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