Pontiac homeowners unhappy about developer's plan for vacant school building

Developer plans to build low-income housing

PONTIAC, Mich. – Homeowners in Pontiac are unhappy about a developer's plan for a vacant school building in the middle of their neighborhood.

Washington Middle School has been locked up for nearly 15 years in the Ottawa and Seminole Hills neighborhoods. A new developer plans to turn the middle school into low-income senior housing, and the idea of low-income renters moving in next door left homeowners feeling apprehensive.

"I don't care what they build," resident Ernest Arnold said. "It's still going to attract negative attention if it's low-income."

Many expressed the fear of crime increasing and the value of their homes dropping.

"I'm all for providing low-income, fair housing for everyone, especially making the city more diverse," longtime resident Carson Taylor said.

Taylor is bothered by the fact that if the land is re-zoned, the developer could build a tower with up to 14 stories.

"Of course, with all those units, that's a lot of people coming and going on these tiny streets," Taylor said.

Those on the planning and zoning board said a tower is premature. They said senior living is something they need to fill.

Commissioner Mono Prolove said the city's hands are tied in terms of income, saying it can't discriminate.

"That falls under fair housing, as well," Prolove said. "There are things that can and cannot be done."

Many believe the old school building should remain as it is.

You can watch Jermont Terry's full story in the video posted above.

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