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Dozen new Sunnyside homes OK'd

The Sunnyside City Council last night, Monday, followed the recommendation of staff and the planning commission in approving the New Life Home development proposed by Catholic Charities Housing Services.

The 12-resident owned homes will be built on 1.68 acres on the east side of McLain Drive, south of Beckner Alley.

Councilman Tom Gehlen tried to recuse himself from the proceedings because he said he had a history with the Catholic Charities group, but had to stay because he was one of only four council members present.

The other three, Mayor Paul Garcia, Bill Gant and Jesse Hernandez Jr. all had excused absences from the meeting.

All four council members present gave the OK for the project to move forward, which will feature two-story homes.

Councilwoman Carol Stone said she was pleased to see the homes will be owner occupied, as that will result in more taxes and utility fees paid to the city.

The houses, which the owners will help build with "sweat equity" toward a down payment, represents an advancement in Sunnyside for the Catholic Charities group.

Previous projects here involved apartments, transitional housing for migrant families.

The New Life Homes, an extension of a housing development in Mabton, is a project that's offered to families who meet certain income guidelines.

Construction is expected to begin soon on the new homes.

In related news, a job program this summer for young people ages 14 to 24 was discussed by council. The Northwest Communicy Action Center will use federal stimulus money to put the youths to work in both private and public job sites.

One consideration mentioned last night, is that some of the youths may be able to do some of the clean-up and odd jobs for the construction crews working on the 12 New Life homes this summer.

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