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Florissant Moves to Help City’s Housing Stock with 3 Bills

By Carol Arnett

The Florissant City Council took the first step in passing three bills designed to help the city’s housing stock. The first bill would establish a fund to pay for two new programs, and the second and third bills would establish the programs and guidelines. Each bill had a first reading at the meeting this week and will have a second reading at the next council meeting.

The council and administration have been discussing these programs for several months. The Homeownership Assistance Program will provide loans to homeowners who do not currently own a home in Florissant (they may be renting a home in the city and still qualify).

The loan will be a forgivable loan towards the down payment on the home. The loan will be equal to the amount the homebuyer puts down, up to $6,000. The loan will be forgiven if the homeowner lives in the property for 5  years.

The bill included procedures for obtaining the loan. There is no income requirement. The homebuyer must pay a $50 fee for the loan. The homebuyer must secure a home loan with fixed interest financing for the first five years of the loan. The city will hold a lien on the property until the five year period of occupancy is met and the loan is forgiven.

The program can only be used to purchase owner-occupied single family houses. The program will be administered by the city’s Community Development Director. Carol O’Mara is the current director.

In an interview after the council meeting, Mayor Tom Schneider said the program should be up and running “before year-end, maybe December.”

Schneider said the city would inform the public via press releases, the city website and other methods. “We’re excited,” he said. “We want to get the word out.”

A first reading  was held on a bill that will allow the city to acquire homes that St. Louis County has repossessed for delinquent taxes. If the county offers these homes for sale three times and does not find a buyer, the city can acquire them. The city will then stabilize the building, if needed, and try to find a buyer for the property. If the property needs work, the city will take steps to ensure that the buyer completes the work needed to bring the property up to code.

Both of these programs would be funded by a new fund, the Property Revitalization Fund. This council also held a first reading on the bill establishing this fund. $500,000 would be appropriated from the city’s General Fund to start the Property Revitalization Fund. Any proceeds from the Property Acquisition Program would be returned to the fund.

In other action, the council held two public hearings regarding signs on local businesses. In the first, Dr. Paul Herrin petitioned the council to allow him to replace a sign as his business at 395 Derhake Rd. In the second, Dennis Morello, owner of the MC Food Mart/ BP station at 425 N. Highway 67, petitioned the council to allow for a digital sign at the business.

The council also postponed the final reading on a bill that would allow a CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Dunn Rd. and Florissant Rd. CVS requested the postponement.


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