The Annapolis Planning and Zoning Commission pledged a $50,000 loan Wednesday to a non-profit developer who plans to build 200 units of affordable housing in the city.
If completed, the development would be the third affordable housing project launched in Annapolis within the last year.
The development plan, sponsored by the Foundation for the Preservation of Affordable Housing, is unique in that it includes a 3-acre parcel of land for a public park, said Larry Tom, the city's chief of community development.
The plan is also unusual because the 18-acre parcel would include a mixed-income development, including condominium apartments, town homes and single-family units.
"The development plans would be atypical of what we've experienced in Annapolis," Tom said.
"I would describe it as being less suburban and more urban in design, with grid street patterns and some on-street parking, more residential blocks than in a typical residential development of this density.
Annapolis Alderman Carl Snowden applauded the new project, saying home ownership still is "a dream that's not a reality for a whole lot of people".
The land is on Belle Drive, Bywater Road and Green Briar Lane, just southwest of Forest Drive.
The commission voted to pledge the $50,000 if the project goes to settlement.
The foundation, which has not yet raised its share of the project cost, is under contract to purchase the property.
It is obligated to the seller to provide a $50,000 deposit.
If the purchase goes through, the foundation would refine the site design and then apply for conditional use approval from the city Planning and Zoning Commission.
It is undetermined at this point who would pay for the public park, but the foundation has agreed at least to set aside the land, Tom said.
"It's extremely positive for a developer to propose providing land for a public park," he added.
"Usually, developers plan some kind of amenity for the exclusive use of those who live there. This would be a park that could be used by the entire neighborhood.
"Affordable housing is housing available to those who fall at or below the median income," Tom said.
"We're looking at units that are less than $85,000 or $90,000. They are just not available in the market."
Within the past year, the city has committed funds for two other affordable housing projects to help fill that void, Tom said.
The first four of 35 homes in Greenbriar, a town house community off Forest Drive, opened in February.
With help from the city, state and local banks, the Community Action agency, a non-profit group, is selling the houses for between $71,000 and $76,111 to first-time buyers.
Another such project Annapolis helped pay for is five inexpensive single homes for first-time buyers at Poplar Woods.