MINOT, N.D. - The City of Minot has spoken publicly for the first time in an ongoing dispute with a developer over an affordable housing project in southeast Minot.
Earlier this week, the City of Minot had announced it would be taking "corrective action" against 16th Crossing, LLC, a developer tasked with constructing a series of town homes on the southeast end of town for low-to-moderate income families. The city contended that Nathan Smith, who runs 16th Crossing, failed to follow through with its promise over the number of town homes, and that his failure to do so jeopardized funding from the federal government invested in the project.
The city said it had invested $5 million from a Community Development Block Grant from Housing and Urban Development, along with nearly $1 million of its own.
Smith responded to the city Thursday night, saying the city was responsible for delays in the project, claiming that the city finished infrastructure work on the development roughly three years later than it was supposed to, and that he had documented proof that he tried to renegotiate a timeline with the city but could not get a response.
Minot Public Information Officer Derek Hackett reacted to Smith press conference Friday afternoon.
"For one, the developer says the city infrastructure project, which added, I might add, added significant value to the land value that they were trying to develop, they claim that this caused some massive delays in constructions. The fact is the developer knew that this construction was going to take place simultaneously as their construction for these units when they signed that agreement," said Hackett.
Hackett also discussed the parameters of the project.
"The plan was that the proposed development would include to complete 89 of the 178 homes by 2021, which is half of what the actual development agreement required," said Hackett.
KMOT spoke with Smith, who called that fact in to question.
"I heard something about liability to the taxpayer. What they're doing is creating liability to the taxpayer. And what he talked about, being only 89 homes by 2021 is factually incorrect. It was the entire subdivision being complete by 2021," said Smith.
Smith also said he would welcome an audit of the process.
"We're still providing affordable housing. We still plan to provide affordable housing. Every action the city is taking will not affect the current residents of that project or the future residents of that project. And if city staff believes there's not a need of affordable housing, that's their position. I still believe there is, and we're still moving forward," said Smith.
In another press release, Smith said he would speak further in the issue at a press conference Monday.