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All sides mum on housing error

Staff writer

Neither city officials nor developers are offering explanations how a wrong address for land earlier rejected for a dollar store ended up canceling funding of 28 new houses in Marion.

An application for $750,000 in tax credits, initially approved then denied, was obtained by the Record under the Kansas Open Records Act.

Portions of the application list the correct address, north of Marion’s baseball fields at Eisenhower and Kellison Sts. However, the application form itself and six photos accompanying it inexplicably list the site almost a mile away, at Roosevelt and Kellison St., an industrial park land reserved for drainage and as a buffer.

Jake Mooney, cofounder of MRE Capital, the development company that originally received tax credits only to have them rescinded after Kansas Housing Resources Corp. found out the address was wrong, responded after numerous emails and messages to say cofounder Daniel Sailler “took the lead on the application.”

Sailler did not respond.

An April 25 letter from interim zoning administrator Margo Yates in support of the development correctly states that the ballpark site was zoned agriculture, “but in theory this land may be rezoned to one of our residential zoning districts.”

The houses were planned for a 400-by-900-yard lot north of the baseball park on a new cul-de-sac off Eisenhower St.

However, the first page of the application lists a plot northeast of Roosevelt and Kellison Sts. That location is a reserved portion of the city industrial park that a year ago was rejected as home for a new dollar store.

Numerous inquiries to developers and city officials about how a very specific wrong location was listed and photographed have gone unanswered.

Soon after the award was announced, Sailler said the location had been corrected with KHRC, but Emily Sharp, communications director for KHRC, said the agency never had been contacted about the discrepancy.

Mike Powers, board president of Marion Advancement Campaign, which owns the donated land, said that the foundation strongly supported the project and that MAC and MRE would submit a new application for next year’s round of tax credit awards.

“Based on the initial success of the project application and the likelihood the scoring system will be as favorable to the project as it was in 2022, if not more so, we are highly optimistic the housing project will be approved with just a few months’ delay,” Powers said.

Although tax records list it as being owned by the city of Marion, the other land technically is owned by all property owners within the industrial park.

The proposed three-bedroom homes were estimated to rent for less than $750 a month. Under the terms of the award, MRE would have been required to maintain ownership of the 28 houses for 15 years.

One of the restrictions on the tax credits is that the housing cannot abut an industrial area. The reserve land would.

MAC thinks the planned Marion Ridge development eventually will become reality, Powers said.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2022

 

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