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Is It Affordable or Is It Not?

The District will soon begin scrutinizing developers who get public land or public financing to make sure they actually keep their promises to build affordable housing, as well as to hire District residents during construction, contract local minority-owned businesses and meet environmental standards.

A bill, sponsored by Council Member Kwame Brown (D-At Large) and passed by the D.C. Council yesterday, will create a watchdog function within the D.C. Auditor's office.

Kwame Brown (D-At Large) with Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) (Marvin Joseph)

That office will perform a onetime audit of completed projects on land that is now overseen by Neil Albert, the deputy mayor for economic development. Albert's shop oversees property that was formerly managed by the defunct public-private National Capital Revitalization Corp. and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp.

The Auditor's office will be required to conduct one oversight hearing for each public-private project after its completion.

Brown wanted the watchdog function to reside within Albert's office; Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) wanted the unit to be in the D.C. Attorney General's office. The compromise was the auditor's office. Said Brown in a statement: "We cannot continue to take developers at their word - that they are going to do right by District residents."

He said an audit "helps to ensure that promises made to our District residents are promises kept." The bill now goes to Fenty for his signature.

By Sylvia Moreno  |  April 2, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Affordable Housing , Economic Development  
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Next: Council to Examine Education, Facilities Budgets

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